The following report is my very first guest blog from Jess Pettersen, who took meticulous notes at Stu's recent foray into extreme chilli eating...
Yesterday, 17 men signed their waivers and got ready to hurt, vomit and cry in front of friends and strangers at the Union Post pub in Ellerslie.
Fire Dragon Chillies held round one of its 2013 Chilli Eating Champs; the Auckland heat of a national competition for the brave and the foolhardy.
The ten rounds of pain were made up of tests that involved either chewing a fresh chilli, or consuming specially prepared chilli food or drink. The chew had standards: contestants must chew for 30 seconds without gulping and then present their tongue as proof before being allowed to swallow. If a contestant got up from their seat, touched the icy beer or glass of milk in front of them, they were out. Vomiting also resulted in disqualification.
The process felt like torture, with the MC’s banter drawing out the drama to prolong the test, as well as each contestant’s pain. The crowd could smell the tang of chillies and desperation in the air. Last year's winner, Dangerous Dave Adams, came to watch the suffering and eat some of the competition’s offerings.
The heat of a chilli is measured in Scoville Heat Units. The competition started with a mild Bishop’s Crown at 30 000 SHU, escalated to the Chocolate Habanero at 350 000 SHU and hit a searing peak with the Trinidad Yellow Scorpion at around 1.3 million SHU.
The contest came down to a face off between fresh-faced Morgan Damien, who wept his way to the top; and “the chilli zombie”, known only as Jared, who seized victory by speed eating a slice of deadly chilli pizza in the 10th round.
There’s more to come – heats are taking place nationally with a final at the Hallertau Brewery booked for July 14.
First-time contestant Stuart Harwood was bowed out after round six’s chilli shot. He was not deterred: “I’m going to train harder. I’ll be back again” he said, “and stronger.”
Just like the burn.
Stu is out and on the milk.
Yoghurt Man is OUT! I'm glad I was on this side on the spew bucket.
The finalists about to speed eat some deadly pizza.
Chilli Zombie is the winner!