Setting a world record for anything is a massive achievement. But when that record involves food, it just seems to take things to a whole new level. Some food records might seem like the epitome of human endurance, other times they just seem plain crazy, and you have to wonder what drove these individuals to take on a food challenge in the first place.
Guinness World Records have been officiating record attempts for over 60 years now, so it stands to reason there have been more than a few food-related records set in that time. So, we decided to dig into the archives and see just what crazy feats of food glory have been achieved over the years. Not only this, we also decided to get creative and produce some rather lovely illustrations which depict each of our favorites. So, let’s tuck in:
Don Lerman – 28 Ounces of Butter in 5 Minutes
Butter. A delicious and often overlooked delight; a nice slice of toast just isn’t right without it. Most of us love a bit of butter here and there… we’re not sure about 28 ounces of it though! To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent weight of two footballs. Yep.
In 2002, Don “Moses” Lerman, a competitive eater from New York, decided to eat his way through 28 ounces of salted butter in just 5 minutes – a record that many have attempted to beat since but have failed without even coming close.
Lerman is someone that has garnered a lot of respect in the competitive eating world, and with good reason. He has numerous other world records under his belt too, including: eating 6lb of baked beans in one minute 48 seconds, and consuming 11 burgers in ten minutes. We can see why he’s earned himself a reputation as having the fastest hands in competitive eating!
Ken Edwards – 36 Live Cockroaches in 60 Seconds
Now this one is certainly not for the faint of heart. Eating anything that’s still alive is not something you consider lightly. Unless you’re Ken Edwards from Derbyshire, UK who decided that 36 live Madagascan hissing cockroaches (they can grow up to 3 inches long!) would be his breakfast of choice one fateful day in 2001. Ironically, the record was set on the popular TV show, The Big Breakfast. Not only did he set the record with millions of people watching, he did it in just 1 minute!
The record isn’t without controversy though. In 2006, Six Flags theme parks were chastised by PETA for attempting to hold a competition where whoever beat the record set by Ken would win a season VIP pass. Numerous complaints were made about the eating of live animals, however the competition still went ahead… though it seems all efforts were futile as Ken’s record still remains.
Takeru Kobayashi – 57 Cow Brains in 15 minutes
It seems like the early Noughties were a hot bed of stomach-churning food world records. In 2002, Takeru Kobayashi, a competitive eater from Japan, decided to conquer a mountain of 57 cow brains in just 15 minutes, smashing any previous records out of the park. Highly nutritious, 57 cow brains equates to almost 18lb in weight – that is A LOT of food, regardless of what it is you’re eating.
Kobayashi (affectionately known as “The Tsunami”) is not a novice when it comes to breaking food world records. He currently holds 8 competitive eating titles, including records for eating 14 Twinkies in one minute, eating 106 tacos in 10 minutes and two separate hot dog-related records to name just a few.
Joey Chestnut – 74 Hotdogs in 10 Minutes
Talking of hot dogs, one of the most notorious eating challenges in the world is Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York and has been a grandstand for all things hot dog for almost a century with contestants travelling from all over the world to get in on the action.
In 2018, Joey Chestnut from California set his sights on victory, consuming a massive 74 hot dogs (including the buns) in 10 minutes, breaking his own record from the previous year. This is actually Joey’s 11th title at Nathan’s, so he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with!
Chestnut is another one that’s got a few records under his belt. Not only is he the king of hot dogs but he also holds the record for eating 141 boiled eggs in just 8 minutes and 4.5lb (72oz) of steak PLUS sides in 8 minutes 52 seconds… we can feel the meat sweats coming on just thinking about it!
Gideon Oji – 408oz of Kale in 8 Minutes
Of all the things to be found in the world of competitive eating, we didn’t think kale – the superfood of gods – would be something that anyone would want to get their teeth into, let alone 408oz of the stuff. But one man did just that. In 2016, Gideon Oji took on the first ever Kale Yeah event as part of The World’s Healthiest Eating Championship, and boy did he set the bar high!
Oji demolished 25 and a half 16oz bowls of the spiky green stuff in just 8 minutes to be crowned the winner, also setting the world record in the process. In 2017, Gideon decided to try again at the second Kale Yeah event and though he didn’t beat his record that he set the year before, he did defend his title by munching 22 bowls of raw kale, without any kind of dressing… yum!
Oleg Zhornitskiy – 128 Ounces of Mayonnaise in 8 Minutes
Mayo is that one condiment you can rely on to make any meal taste better. Got a boring ham sandwich? Slap some mayo on it. Mashed potato not quite creamy enough? Chuck a spoonful of mayo in there. But when it comes to breaking records with mayonnaise, you’ve really got to love it.
Well, in 2017, Ukrainian born Oleg Zhornitskiy chowed down on 4 big bowls of mayonnaise and all with just the aid of his trusty spoon and a whole dollop of will power. The 4 bowls totalled a whopping 128oz in weight and he did that in just 8 minutes. To give you an idea of the scale, that’s the equivalent weight of 80 golf balls! And though some have tried, it seems no one has been able to come close to beating his record-breaking efforts.
Alex Williams – 5ft of Stinging Nettles in 1 Minute
If you were questioning why anyone would voluntarily do the previous challenges in our list, then this one will most definitely have you scratching your head in confusion.
In 1997, the World Nettle Eating Championships began life after Dorset pub regular Alex Williams challenged other regulars to find a stinging nettle longer than 15ft 6 inches and if they did, he would eat it. Needless to say, he stuck to his word when someone showed up with a 16ft stinging nettle in hand. Fast forward to 2005, Alex fancied his chances of becoming the ultimate king of the stingers by going on TV to attempt this rather odd record-breaking challenge.
Alex achieved his goal and is now the world record holder for eating 5ft of fresh stinging nettles in just one minute. While we fully appreciate the nutritional value of nettles and the health benefits, we can’t help but feel there might have been less painful ways to get your name out there… Antihistamine tablets at the ready!
Matt Stonie – 255 Peeps in 5 Minutes
If you like sweet treats then this world record might just be for you. If you’re not sure what Peeps are, they’re a pupil-dilating, sugar-rush-inducing feast of marshmallowy Easter-time goodness from America, full to the brim with e-numbers and everything that’s bad for you. So why wouldn’t you want to eat your way through a small village of them?
Well, Matt Stonie appeared to have no trouble doing just that. In 2017, he ate his way through 255 of the festive treats, smashing his previous record of 200 that he set in 2016, and he did so in just 5 minutes. We salute you Matt! Sort of.
There are some things you might want to consider when diving into this challenge though. Firstly, it’s likely to make you very, very sick and secondly, that’s 7,140 calories of what is effectively pure sugar. They’re certainly not the best choice for your waistline!
Kelvin Medina – 12 Inch Pizza in 23 Seconds
Pizza. It needs no introduction. Its god-like status speaks for itself, so it’s only right that the world record is included on our list. This has to be one of the most impressive of all the record-breaking food challenges out there. In 2015, Kelvin Medina from the Philippines set the world record for eating a 12-inch pizza in just 23.62 seconds! And that’s not the most impressive part either… he did it with a knife and fork!
Earning the record was no easy feat either! Kelvin had to go through a series of elimination rounds before the final head-to-head competition. Kelvin beat his opponent by just 0.4 of a second and the record still stands today, beating the previous record holder by over 15 seconds!