Who is Joey Chestnut, who set a record in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest?


As many Americans gear up for a long weekend of patriotic activities, an overflow of backyard barbecues, and an insane amount of sales to join in for the July 4th weekend, a select few will be gearing up for another big event: this year Nathan’s famous international hot dog tasting competition.

The competition, which takes place every July 4 at Coney Island, has long been a favorite among spectators and foodie contestants since its inaugural contest in 1972. And although there have been plenty of contestants and winners over the course of In the contest’s nearly 50 years, no one has compared to current defending champion Joey Chestnut. While Joey is well known for breaking hot dog consumption records for the Nathan’s Famous brand, there is more to him than that. Here are six things you need to know about the man known as “The World’s Biggest Eater.”

He took part in his first competition when he was only 21 years old.

Born in Vallejo, California in 1985, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut hasn’t always been the food-eating giant you love. His affinity for eating large amounts of food developed over the course of trips to visit family while he was still in college; in fact, the specialist engineer only started eating competitively after one of his brothers (he’s one of six children) noticed his potential. In 2005, through a lobster eating contest in Reno, NV, a gastronomic legend was born.

He’s won Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 13 times.

Although Joey did not win or place in the competition in 2005, he did fall in love with the sport that year. Shortly after his disappointment at Reno, Joey entered the iconic Nathan’s famous international hot dog tasting competition. And while he also didn’t win first place in this contest, he finished third after eating 32 hot dogs. The following year, his record rose to 52, making him the runner-up behind six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi.

To maintain the momentum, Chestnut re-entered the competition in 2007 and won the coveted Mustard Belt with a record consumption of 66 hot dogs. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the hot dog champion retained the title until 2015, where Matt Stonie beat him by two hot dogs. Stonie’s reign did not last long, however, as Chestnut returned to the top the following year and made a point of staying there ever since.

He has a rigid training process.

How does the 37-year-old manage to stay on top as a competitive eater? His complex training program, of course. While other food contests he participates in throughout the year help him prepare for the summer showdown at Coney Island, Joey said he usually trains rigorously for three months before the event. 4th July. This training, according to an interview with CNBC, includes weekly hot dog training sessions followed by a few days of recovery. These days of “recovery” are not easy, however.

Joey notes that recovery days usually involve eating green vegetables, which aid digestion, and only drinking lemon water and coffee in the morning once he starts to feel better. This is then followed by a day and a half fast before embarking on his next workout of the week. Running and yoga are also included in this program, so that he has better control of his breathing to improve his pace for competitions.

Nathan’s is not the only brand with which it holds a world record.

As if his title of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Champ weren’t impressive enough, Joey also holds a world record with a number of other well-known brands. In 2007, the “World’s Biggest Eater” ate a total of 103 Krystal burgers in just eight minutes, while in 2011 he consumed seven and a half P’Zones of Pizza Hut in just 10 minutes. Still not impressed? He also landed 54 tender beef tacos from Taco Bell in 10 minutes in 2011 and, two years later, 121 Twinkies in six minutes. Talk about having a big appetite.

In fact, he holds nearly 50 world records.

Over the nearly two decades, Joey has amassed nearly 50 world records. And while his most notable is being a Nathan champion, he has topped many other records including eat 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes in 2020.

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Other records he broke include, but are not limited to:

  • Apple Pie: 4,375 three-pound pies in 8 minutes
  • Asparagus: 12 pounds and 8.75 ounces in 10 minutes
  • Chicken wings: 413 in 12 hours
  • Frozen donuts: 55 in 8 minutes
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches: 47 in 10 minutes
  • hard-boiled eggs: 141 in 8 minutes
  • Hostess Donettes: 257 in 6 minutes
  • Frozen sandwiches: 25.5 in 6 minutes
  • Pierogi: 165 in 8 minutes
  • Pulled pork sandwiches: 45 in 10 minutes
  • Shrimp wontons: 390 in 8 minutes
  • Tamales: 102 in 12 minutes

    He has to eat a lot of hot dogs to beat his 2020 record.

    With Nathan’s famous 2021 International Hot Dog Eating Contest just around the corner, new fans (or those who may have missed out on last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic in course) may wonder what it will take for Chestnut to claim his fourteenth victory. While 2020 saw Chestnut – who typically fast for two to three days before the event – consume 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes, this year is expected to see him surpass that number in the same amount of time or less. However, to win the title, it would be enough for him to surpass any of his competitors in the allotted time. And while eating over 75 hot dogs in such a short time may seem like an impossible feat … this is Joey Chestnut we’re talking about, folks.

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