Food Challenge Definition

The definition of a food challenge is where you receive a specific prize for the completion of a specific meal or quantity of food (food and/or drink), while following the specific rules and regulations of the restaurant or food vendor that is offering the food challenge. Most commonly known around the world, a food challenge is what you were watching if you have ever seen an old episode of the TV show Man v Food starring Adam Richman. There are 28 different types of food challenges available that people are able to attempt but the most common types are burger, steak, burrito, pizza, taco, sandwich, chicken wing, team, soup, and hot dog challenges.

Another very common common type of food challenge is a spicy challenge which typically focuses more on heat rather than quantity. Most spicy food challenges involve finishing a particular menu item that is prepared using the Bhut Jolokia Chili (Ghost Pepper) which is over 100 times hotter than a raw jalapeno. In today’s constantly evolving world though, new peppers are being developed that are even spicier than the Ghost Pepper. The most common peppers to watch out for are the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper and the Carolina Reaper Pepper. Some restaurants even use pure capsaicin extract which is extremely spicy because capsaicin is the main active component of chili peppers that determines the spiciness level. Serious spicy challenges should not be taken lightly, and they can be very dangerous if you are not careful. The food burns going in, and also going out 🙂

Typically, there is a certain amount of time allowed for you to finish the meal which is set by the particular food vendor. If you successfully complete the meal within the time limit and also follow all of the “house rules”, then you win and get a prize. Smaller food challenges may award you with a special shirt or hat, a certificate of completion, and/or the restaurant may even put your name or picture up on their Wall Of Fame. Most larger food challenges award you by giving you the entire meal for free or at a very significant discount, and some even offer additional prizes such as a gift certificate to the restaurant or even cash money. The prize is also set by the particular vendor hosting the challenge. Challenges offering big prizes typically attract more attempts.

A food challenge is typically offered as a menu item that is available every day of the week during normal business hours. It is advised that you always notify the restaurant a few days beforehand to make sure that the restaurant is prepared for you since many challenges involve the use of custom made buns, specially cut pieces of meat, or other items that are only needed for the particular food challenge that are not always readily available. Other restaurants may only offer the challenge one night per week as a fun weekly event. The most common weekly food challenge is for a restaurant to offer a taco challenge on “Taco Tuesdays”. A challenge must be available at least one time per week in order to be considered a food challenge. If not, the event is then considered a contest and usually involves many people. For the definition of an eating contest, click here.

To go back and view other Food Challenges 101 articles, click here.