The dumbest thing you can possibly do before a food challenge is to talk smack to the restaurant’s kitchen staff about how you are going to dominate their challenge. Never get cocky and talk any kind of smack to anybody involved with the challenge until it is physically sitting in front of you at the table. That has been my policy since the very beginning, but even to this day I still worry about a chef adding extra food or cooking the meat extra tough so that the challenge becomes harder. There are so many ways that a restaurant can make the food tougher for you to eat, and they will more than likely do that to you if you are running your mouth before the challenge about how you are going to win. People like humility, and most people don’t like loud-mouths that “write checks with their mouth that their body can’t cash.” You are free to do whatever you want, but I suggest not making any bets with any of the restaurant staff before the food is sitting in front of you. Running your mouth may end up costing you dearly in the long run. These things may happen to your food if you talk smack:

They can overcook the meat – I once beat an 87 ounce steak challenge in just 15 minutes that was perfectly cooked, and it has taken me over 40 minutes to beat a few smaller steak challenges that were overcooked. If the restaurant overcooks the meat, it will be much harder to chew and swallow. Unless you specifically asked for your food a certain way, they may do this if you are already talking about winning while you are ordering it. Even if you did ask for it certain way, they will probably laugh at you if you don’t finish the challenge. I beat a 72 ounce steak challenge in Seattle, Washington in 45 minutes, and it was overcooked. I found out later that the only person betting against me was the little chef that cooked it. You don’t want the chef against you!!

They can overcook the fries – There are few things more disappointing during a food challenge than to finish a larger burger or sandwich and then bite into the first handful of cold, crispy, and really hard to chew fries that are remaining. A pound of fries doesn’t sound like very much, but a pound of overcooked fries that are cold and crunchy is really tough to eat and can take forever to finish. If the chefs overcook the fries and there is a short time limit, you may be in trouble if you aren’t a really fast eater, all because you got cocky and ran your mouth.

They can add in extra salt – Bacon is the worst choice typically on big pizza challenges because it is one of the saltiest meats available, and its hard to eat a lot of a food that is very salty. I have done two or three burger challenges that tasted abnormally salty. Luckily I had drinks with me to help overcome the terrible flavor. This is one of the easiest things for them to disguise too, so please avoid the situation by not being an arrogant idiot.

Definitely avoid talking smack before pizza challenges – There are multiple things that can be done to a pizza challenge. They can overcook the crust, add in extra cheese and toppings, and they can just add extra crust. When I was in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, I did a pizza challenge and the owner and I ended up making a wager beforehand. I did this after seeing the actual pizza go into the oven. We bet that I would get extra money for every minute under the time limit that I finished, since nobody had ever finished before. I knew I was going to win, so I said yes. It turned out that they “accidentally” burnt the pizza and had to make a new one. Right when I saw them bringing it to me, I knew what they did. I obviously didn’t know how much at the time, but I found out afterwards that they added an extra full pound of dough into the challenge so that I would not finish as fast. Luckily, I still dominated the challenge, just not as fast. That “mistake” saved the restaurant an extra £50.

Aside from them adding an extra pound of dough, the pizza was delicious, but I still would not go back. It just goes to show that you should not talk smack before a challenge. Cockiness can come back and bite you, and losing is not fun, especially when you are “eating your words” too. This doesn’t mean that you should be scared though. Be kind to your waiter or waitress, and feel free to ask questions about the challenge. Feel free to ask for the food a certain way too. Just make sure to not give off an overconfident vibe. I always make jokes when I am speaking to the chefs about being nice to me, and I always make sure to thank them both before and after the challenge. If the restaurant is on your side, which is the goal, your chances of success go up significantly.

If you are an eater that does happen to have quite a few food challenge and eating contest wins, you don’t need to lie to the restaurant if somebody asks you if this is your first time attempting something like that. You don’t have to give the exact number of wins and the times that you finished each one in though. You can just say respectfully that you have done a few before. If they ask what other ones you have done before, it is fine to mention some of the challenges that you have defeated. There is a large difference between confidence and arrogance. You don’t need to be scared to tell them about some of your challenges. Food challengers are rare, yet very interesting because not many people can eat as much as we can, so that person may be genuinely interested in your story. Confidently telling about a few of your challenge wins is different than acting like you have been there, done that, worn the t-shirt, and this challenge will just be another nice notch on your belt.

Most restaurants with challenges are very friendly, but every now and then you will find an owner that goes out of his or her way to make sure that nobody beats their challenge. Some things are out of your control, but you definitely control how you act before the food is there sitting in front of you. When you are getting ready to start, feel free to have some fun with it if you really do think you can dominate. When people ask me if I am going to win, I tell them that I will know when the food arrives. Once the food arrives, it is how I expected it, and I know what the outcome will be, I smile and just say “I didn’t come all this way just to lose.” People love humility, and many people are ok with cocky people, but nobody likes arrogant people. Treat other people with respect, don’t run your mouth arrogantly beforehand, and you will have a great food challenge experience.

Thanks for reading why you should never talk smack to the restaurant staff & using!!

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