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Yasir wins cannoli gold

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted October 11, 2013
yasir salem wins cannoli eating contest new york
Victory! Yasir (left and right) celebrates his win in cannoli (top centre). © Yasir Salem

Yasir Salem lands first MLE crown while Jaws sets apple pie record.

Gurgitating triathlete and all-round top bloke Yasir Salem has pulled off his first championship win at the Festa di San Gennaro Cannoli Eating Championship in Little Italy, Noi Yoik, Noi Yoik.

Staged this past Thursday (12/9/13) and billed by Major League Eating (MLE) as "a six-minute all-you-can eat cannoli smack-down" that "has come to symbolise the official start of the world famous Festa di San Gennaro", the Ferrara-sponsored gobathon saw Yasir chomping down 31.75 of these sugary-cheese-filled-fried-pastry-dough-tube-jobbies to land not only eternal glory, but also a box set of Pavarotti albums.

Not bad, eh?

While his total, the Gothamist reports, was a smidgeon short of the 32-cannoli record, it was nonetheless enough to fend off some stiff opposition from Marcos 'the Monster' Owens, who placed a close second with 31 of the things down his throat at the bell, and reigning champ Eric 'Badlands' Booker, who, having last year beaten Yasir in possibly the tensest tightest tie-breaking tooth-off imaginable, upped his showing from 21 to 28 for third.

Meanwhile, stalwart speed scoffer and "Einstein of the intestine" Crazy Legs Conti (CLC), who in his typically top-notch pre-match blog for the Huffington Post described cannoli crunching as requiring "more post-contest dental work than any other discipline", clocked up a gut count of 20 to place fourth.

yasir salem and eric badlands booker
Are you sure that's cannoli? Badlands and Yasir battling it out. © National Buffalo Wing Festival

So how does local lad Yasir feel about his triumph and, of course, is he a fan of opera?

"It feels great to win my first title and I hope there will be a few more," he exclusively facebookates the Rake & Herald, adding that as he does indeed "hit up the opera and philharmonic every once in a while" he's also pretty pleased with his bounteous haul of classical ditties and the like.

As for the food, the cannoli, Yasir states, "were really good".

"This was my third year doing [the contest] and I've improved every year."

"After the tie with Badlands and loss in overtime, I came in this year determined to win."

"I went downtown to Ferrara's to pick up some cannoli a few days before the contest to brush up on my technique."

"I compared them to my notes from last year [and they] weighed the same (3.5 oz [99.2 g]), had the same hard shell but included chocolate chips, so I think these were just a little more complex than last year."

"I focused on technique this year and it paid off," he says, noting that the Monster "independently came up with the same technique", which is why both gurgitators "were so efficient this year".

"I looked at my video and Badlands' technique was consistent with his last couple of years but he was much faster."

"I knew Yasir was going to be hard to beat since we went into overtime last year," Badlands, who kicked off proceedings with a cannoli-themed rap while sporting a pair of his signature headphones, also tells the Rake & Herald via an equally exclusive converfacebookationalism.

"He's a great eater and friend and I want to congratulate him on winning and securing his first MLE title!"

"The cannoli were delicious," Badlands concurs, although he himself found the shells this time around "a little softer, which made them faster and easier to eat".

"Even though I didn't win, I still did great, devouring 28 cannoli in six minutes, which is a personal best."

But while Badlands has "no worries about losing the crown", he is certainly not the sort of alimentary athlete to surrender easily and thus all our cherished and beloved readers out there can rest assured that he "will work hard at getting it back next year".

And on the subject of working hard, rather than simply savouring the sweet taste of his very sweet victory, Yasir was once more back in action the very next day (13/9/13), putting away two-and-a-half 3-lb (1.4 kg) apple pies in eight minutes to pocket $400 (£251) for fourth at the inaugural Mapleside Farms World Apple Pie Eating Championship in Brunswick, Ohio.

Part of the 40th Johnny Appleseed Festival, the all-you-can-eat gobfest ultimately saw top honours going to San Jose-based scarfing supremo Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut, who notched up yet another world record and wedge worth $2,500 after ramming 4.375 pies with a combined weight of 13.125 lbs down his craw, beating off Tim 'Eater X' Janus, who chobbled his way through 3.625 pies to snaffled silver sausage worth $1,000, and the Rake & Herald's all-time favourite alimentary athlete, the totally fan-flippin'-tastic and utterly wonderful-beyond-words Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas, who gorged herself on 3.375 to land bronze and sponds to the tune of $650.

At the same time, 'Buffalo' Jim Reeves shoved 2.25 pies down his pie hole to pick up $300 for fifth, with Scott Thomas snaring a ton and a half for his sixth-spot throat throughput of 1.625.

Sadly, both Adrian 'the Rabbit' Morgan and Juan 'More Bite' Rodriguez were unable to participate in the pie-pummelling due to some pesky plane-pertaining problems.

"It felt great to go into pies with a win," Yasir continues to exclusively tell the Rake & Herald via the Book of Face.

"I had some wind in my sails and I used that confidence as best as I could."

"I drank lots of water and consumed high fibre foods (broccoli, beans and carrots) after cannoli and I followed my standard contest morning nutrition (water stretch then strong coffee, some fruit, protein shake and vitamins) so I was pretty empty and ready going into pies."

And as for the apple pies themselves, they too have now more than likely been exorcised from Yasir's system given that just before his exclusive facebookification with the Rake & Herald he went for a leisurely jog, running an 18-mile (29-km) tune-up race for the Noi Yoik City marathon, which, when it comes around this November, will be his third to date.

In the meantime, "the triathlons are [also] going great".

"I finished my first Ironman just a few weeks ago," he reports, revealing that he also has "a couple more Half Ironmans" coming up in Augusta (29/9/13) and Austin (27/10/13).

Yep, he's not one to say no to a spot of physical exertion is our Yasir.

Unlike Rake & Herald fashion editor, London cabbie and self-appointed competitive eating pundit Kok 'Kebab Muncher' Wang, whose idea of exercise only just stretches to raising a block of lard to his lips.

Not that he sits around on his arse all day, mind.

Well, not since I slashed both his bum cheeks open with a bowie knife as a punishment for making me take ages to write-up our brand spanking new world exclusive interview with US Army gurgitator Ronnie 'Mega Byte' Hartman, anyway.

Unfortunately, just as Kok was expiring from massive blood loss, the healing powers of those magic pasties given to us by Cozza, the head Cornish witch who was about to burn us in a giant wicker man before changing her mind when she realised I used to go necromancing with her when we were kids, kicked in.

Moreover, not only did those pasties sort out that botched bit of extraterrestrial surgery that resulted in Kok's head being on back-to-front, but they also regenerated his throat and larynx, which had earlier been ripped out by the Beast of Bodmin, a cryptozoological big cat that's been terrorising the Cornish countryside for years and from which the two of us were hiding down the bottom of a disused tin mine while simultaneously covering the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival, the Eighth Annual John Ascuaga's Nugget World Rib Eating Championship, the Buffalo Buffet Bowl and the US National Buffalo Wing Eating Championship, the result of which, though I say it myself, was a truly epic piece of sports journalism that only a person with a squashed dog turd for a brain would ever knowingly choose not to read.

Get the f--king hint?

It took bloody ages to write that.

And I had to put up with Kok gargling blood out a hole in his neck while I penned it in the pitch dark of a subterranean labyrinth lit only by the dull glow of endless chain-smoked Lamberts.

Oh, and those ATEX-certified flashlights we found on those freshly killed corpses near the mineshaft entrance.

Anyway, I say "were hiding down the bottom of a disused tin mine" because things have now changed somewhat.

But to understand why I first need to explain something very important.

As you may or may not be aware, the pasty was the staple food of Cornish tin and copper miners for aeons and has now become arguably the most important cultural and culinary icon of Cornwall, the former Celtic kingdom from where yours truly hails and to where Kok and I were returned to Earth after our sojourn in space resulted in us being sold as slaves to Cozza and her cronies by a bunch of intergalactic pirates.

In the same way that, to quote MLE, nothing is "more American than apple pie", so nothing is more Cornish than a pasty.

However, unlike American apple pies, traditional Cornish pasties are filled with chunks of beef skirt, potato, onion and swede (aka 'turnip' or 'rutabaga') seasoned with salt and black pepper.

This is then slowly baked in a roughly D-shaped pastry case that, pointed at one extreme and rounded at the other, is sealed with a thick hand-crimped crust along the unit's rounded outer flank.

In addition to being a highly practical and incredibly tasty portable meal, the Cornish pasty is also steeped in folklore and tradition.

As such, there are three golden rules of pasty production and consumption that must never on no account whatso-bloody-ever be broken by anyone anywhere ever:

1) The hand-crimped crust must always be on the side of the pasty and never on the top;

2) The pointy end of the pasty must always be eaten first; and

3) You must always leave at least part of the crust for the Knockers, the elemental nature spirits of the rock that, if befriended, will help a miner find rich seams of ore and/or a safe way back to the surface and which, if offended, will cause a cave-in and/or lead a miner to their grizzly death.

Guess which rule Kok broke.

Clue: Shortly after he necked his entire pasty, the bloody mine collapsed.

However, as they were magical pasties, we obviously didn't die.

Rather, a huge great hole opened up and we found ourselves falling into an enormous cavern, our impact when we finally hit the bottom broken by a couple of old pissy mattresses.

Well, they get everywhere, don't they?

So that's where we are now.

About three miles beneath Cornwall and the surface of the Earth.

But enough of all that.

What have you got to say for yourself, Kok, now you've got your voice back, you ignorant bloody emmet?

tim eater x janus
Eater X in action: No bloody way is that apple pie. © MLE

Shut it, bootface, or I'll rip yer bleedin' ears off.

'Ow the fack was I supposed to know about your stupid fackin' pasty rules?

I'm from bleedin' Landon, you cant.

[Er, because both Cozza and I repeatedly warned you that if you didn't leave anything for the Knockers, they'd collapse the sodding mine?]

Oh, yeah.

Anyway, top eating from Yasir there.

You don't know 'ow bleedin' well chuffed I am he's won 'is first championship gold.

A fackin' well-deserved victory indeed an' a just reward for all the effort 'ee's put in since takin' up the sport a few years back.

What's more, he always comes across as a damn fine bloke, a real diamond geezer, so on both a professional and personal level I'm bloody delighted for 'im and I genuinely 'ope this'll be the first of many chowdown crowns to come his way goin' forward, as people with MBAs like to say.

And all the very best with the marathons and Ironman triathlons as well, sir.

Clearly all the determination, dexterity, mental toughness and physical prowess required by such undertakin's are also payin' off dividends with the gurgitatin', so keep the good work up!

All 'ere at the Rake & Herald, even that stupid munter Sandi, doff our caps in your 'onour.

Congratulations and 'ave a right good bask in the glory.

You bloody deserve it!

Of course, though, while I'm well bloody 'appy Yasir won, I'm also sorry to see Badlands lose 'cos he too is a total star and, like Yasir, a proper gent to boot.

Sadly, 'owever, such is the nature of competitive sport, whether it's runnin', rugby or rammin' grub down yer gob, someone 'as to win an' someone 'as to lose.

Either way, shout out to Badlands!

Fair play, too, to the Monster and, of course, the one and only CLC 'imself.

Now, CLC, it seems fair to say, ain't been 'avin too much luck lately and from reading that blog of 'is 'ee's apparently in need of reenergisin' 'is "love of professional eatin'".

Well, I certainly 'ope that 'appens post-haste, guv.

I don't care what anyone says.

Anybody 'oo can eat their way out of a popcorn sarcophagus is a bloody 'ero in my book so I for one wanna see him get back on top form pretty bloody sharpish.

Plus that film 'ee made, Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating, is a fackin' pearl, a fackin' classic!

But more than that, CLC's long been Rake & Herald culture editor DJ NRG Raver's favourite gurgitator so if knowin' that don't 'elp 'im get a bit of 'is old sparkle back, I don't know what will.

And while 'is form 'as never been in question, I'm bloody relieved to see Jaws bouncing back to rude 'ealth after that throat infection what caused 'im to sit out that wing ding in Buffalo, a fackin' fantastic report of which can be read 'ere right this bleedin' minute.

The very idea of Jaws not turnin' up to defend a title is bloody anathema, so it must've been a right ropey gullet 'ee 'ad.

Still, 'ee bloody well showed us all 'oo's boss in Brunswick, didn't 'ee?

Thirteen point one two five pounds of pie in eight minutes?

That's fackin' phenomenal!

But then Jaws is fackin' phenomenal.

An' stickin' with the pie poundin', good too to see Eater X out and abaht again, 'avin' last been seen eatin' in competition back in July at Nathan's.

Perhaps it's 'cos I ain't seen 'is name on a results board since then but to me it feels like 'ee ain't 'ardly competed at all this year.

'Owever, a quick look at the ever excellent Eat Feats database reveals 'ees actually eaten in the same number o' bleedin' bouche battles as Matt 'Megatoad' Stonie, i.e. nine.

Although both those figures pale compared to the 15 the Black Widow's eaten in and the 17 (including that fish tacos record event last month) that Jaws has been at.

Anyway, to be 'onest, I'm not sure where I'm goin' with this so I'll just bung a rock at Sandi's bonce and sign off.

Take that, you ugly cow!

[Ow! My head! That bloody hurt!]

Yeah, I know.

It was meant to.

That's why I dunnit, innit?

Anyway, respect to the X!

Respect to the Jaws!

Respect to CLC!

Respect to Badlands!

And fackin' bleedin' ginormous respect to Yasir!

And, of course, everyone else what participated in them chowdowns regardless of 'ow they fared.

Now over to you, Sand.

I need a piss.

A lobotomy, more like.


Here are the full results based on the MLE website and Twitter feed, Eat Feats and the Gothamist:

The Festa di San Gennaro Cannoli Eating Championship, Noi Yoik, Noi Yoik (12/9/13)

1) Yasir Salem (31.75 cannoli in six minutes; Pavarotti box set; eternal glory);

2) Marcos 'the Monster' Owens (31);

3) Eric 'Badlands' Booker (28);

4) Crazy Legs Conti (20);

5) Jessica Lawrence (6);

6) Suzie Firecracker (4); and

7) Chrysilla Dimitrou (3).

Mapleside Farms World Apple Pie Eating Championship, Brunswick, Ohio (13/9/13)

1) Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut (4.375 3-lb pies in eight minutes; $2,500);

2) Tim 'Eater X' Janus (3.625; $1,000);

3) Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas (3.375; $650);

4) Yasir Salem (2.5; $400);

5) 'Buffalo' Jim Reeves (2.25; $300);

6) Scott Thomas (1.625; $150);

7) William 'Wild Bill' Myers (1.125);

8) Adam Friedrick (1);

9) Ted Merg (0.75); and

10) Greg Clemente (0.5).

As ever, huge pats on the back to all who ate, emceed or indeed had any part whatsoever in the organisation of the above two gobathons of glory.

Monumentally massive thanks also to Yasir and Badlands for their exclusive quotes, your time and trouble spent answering our questions is truly appreciated.

Big, big thanks indeed!

And now it's watchy-watch-watch time.

So pull up a chair and gather round because first up, embedded from Joe Depace'sYouTube channel, is a pretty good film of the cannoli cramming, even if it does seem to have been shot through a hole in a wobbly box.

But then that's art, I guess.

F--k knows.

Anyway, judge for yourself because here it is.

Ready for more?

I hope so because now, from the NewsNet5 website, or whatever it's called, here's a report on the apple pie guzzling.

Admittedly, there's not too much actual eating footage, but it does finish with Jaws detailing his rather complex strategy, a complex strategy that clearly works.

But in my opinion at least, no mention of cannoli scoffing could possibly be complete without last year's eat-off between Yasir and Badlands.

Yes, I know, we've already embedded it on Rake & Herald about 36 times before, but it's so flippin' good it bears repeating again and again and again.

So, taken from the YouTube channel of Australian alimentary athlete Crescenzo Rillo, feast your eyes on this.

Face it.

It's ace.

Right, gotta go.

A Knocker's just appeared.

Apparently, "the loud hollow ringing noise" caused by that rock hitting my head woke him up and he ain't best please.

In fact, he says, if we don't shift these piss-stained mattresses from outside his front door right this minute, we'll never see the surface again.

Thanks, Kok.

You f--king tosser.

See also Badlands crowned cannoli king, posted 13/9/12.

To fully understand why Sandi and Kok are trapped three miles underground and not in space or something, make sure you read Dromore Destroyer keeps his crown, posted 13/9/13. Meanwhile, to understand why Sandi slashed Kok's buttocks with a bowie knife, have a read of Full metal gurgitator, our exclusive Mega Byte interview posted 16/9/13.

Do you like our Sandi's scribblings? If so, why not befriend her on that FaceBook thing? We don't let her out much, see, preferring instead to shackle her to her desk inside an indestructible cage (it's actually a Perspex box with a couple of air holes stabbed into it with a chisel). As such, she's terribly lonely and unloved. Please find it in your heart to help her before her constant whining drives us to kill her with a sharpened curtain rod. Remember, Sandi's life is in YOUR hands so get 'friending', or whatever the trendy modern verb is. Please. She's just started crying again.

This article was first posted on the old R&H 17/9/13.

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