July 31, 2018
Randy Santel is “a world class professional bodybuilder/eater”, a man who wears T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like I Lift to Eat and Fitness is Recommended, Nutrition is Required. But there’s an added dimension to these bold claims, in that he travels the world in search of this nutrition, seeking out those restaurants that offer food challenges – most often eat X amount of food in Y amount of time and the meal is free – and blogs about them on his site, randysantel.com, as well as offering videos of the meals on his YouTube channel and a more general guide to competitive eating on foodchallenges.com.
Randy is a large man with a large appetite. Photo: Stari pisker
It’s on these you’ll learn about the more than 300 challenges he’s undertaken in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, with meals that range from burgers to pho, curries to kebabs, and flapjacks to nacho platters, all rated on a scale of one to five stars in terms of difficulty.
A one-star challenge, for example, would be the Broadway Lights Diner’s Alex Burger Challenge in New York, where the diner must consume a 1.36 kg burger, containing just under a kilo of meat, in one sitting to win a T-shirt. A five-star event is more on the lines of Fat Sal’s Big Fat Fatty Sandwich Challenge, from Fat Sal’s Deli in Los Angeles, a 4.54 kg sandwich that’s composed of a cheesesteak, cheese burgers, pastrami, chicken fingers, bacon, mozzarella sticks, fried eggs, jalapeno poppers, fries, onion rings, chili, marinara, and “Fat Sal’s” sauce, on a 68.5 cm garlic loaf. This costs US$40, but is yours for free if eaten in 40 minutes or less.
But why is this story appearing in Total Slovenia News? It’s because last week the man himself rolled up in Celje, the Town of Princes, and sat down for public food challenge at Stari pisker - gostilna in pivnica, accompanied by the surprisingly slight Magic Mitch and Steel Rod Radim, two men whose figures belie their ferocious appetites.
The burger is 10 all-beef patties layered with cheese between one white bread bun, along with some bacon, salad, French fries, onion rings and BBQ sauce
The focus of their visit was the Fat Joe Burger Challenge, a towering multi-patty burger with 2.5 kg of meat held in place with a sword that normally costs 50 euros but is free if consumed within 30 minutes, a feat previously achieved only once, by an anonymous Slovene diner who’s already slipped into mists of legend and myth.
The event was watched by a several hundred thousand on Randy’s Facebook livestream, as well as large crowd of curious locals and members of the Slovene media.
Did Randy, Mitch and Steel Rod merit the attention and meet this three-star challenge? Yes indeed, with Randy doing so in 11 minutes 47 seconds, Mitch in exactly 16 minutes, and Steel Rod in 26 minutes and 24 seconds, with the performances of the first two shown in the following video.
And if that seems exhausting then note that after a short break to bask in the glory these dedicated eaters went on to enjoy a Tomahawk steak and some desserts from the same place, the menu too good to resist.
Here are some of Randy’s tips for conquering the Fat Joe Burger Challenge:
- Don’t start until the burgers have cooled down. The challenge starts with the first bite, so don’t risk injury from grill-hot food.
- Break it down layer by layer to help keep the food warm and avoid “flavour fatigue”.
- Leave the bun, then eat all the patties except for one. You can then eat the last burger in the bun and enjoy it more.
- Use the BBQ sauce and water-filled vegetables – tomatoes, pickles, onions and so on – to help swallow the food, rather than filling up your stomach with water or another drink (although note the glasses of water on the table).
- Stand up if needed so that the food settles and your stomach can expand.
If you’d like to try and beat the Fat Joe Challenge then you can take the trip to Stari pisker at Savinova ulica 9, 3000 Celje, with the Facebook page here and the website here. Note that there’s much more to be enjoyed than giant burgers, with a full menu of grilled meat dishes, including aged steaks, skewers and hot dogs, as well as vegetarian options and desserts.