Joey Chestnut looks to devour competition in D.C. contest

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut visited WTOP on Friday to discuss this weekend’s chili eating contest in D.C. (WTOP/Meera Pal)

Update 10/11/15:  Joey Chestnut wins Ben's Chili Bowl contest by eating 7 1/14 gallons of chili in six minutes. (Facebook/Ben's Chili Bowl)
Update 10/11/15: Joey Chestnut wins Ben’s Chili Bowl contest Saturday by eating 7 1/14 gallons of chili in six minutes.

 Joey Chestnut wins the Men's Division with 61 Hot Dogs at the 2014 Nathan's Famous 4th July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Joey Chestnut wins the Men’s Division with 61 Hot Dogs at the 2014 Nathan’s Famous 4th July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Eric Adams, Joey Chestnut, Matt Stonie
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams watches Joey Chestnut, left, and Matt Stonie, right, during a news conference to promote the upcoming Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot-Dog Eating Contest Friday, July 3, 2015, at Brooklyn Borough Hall in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Joey Chestnut
FILE – In this July 4, 2014, file photo, Joey Chestnut raises his fist in the air after winning Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating contest at Coney Island in New York. Ten contestants vied to see who could eat the most of a 20-pound turkey in a competition Saturday, Nov. 22 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. Chestnut won the contest, setting a record by devouring an entire bird. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

In this Nov. 22, 2014 photo, Joey Chestnut, center, and the other eaters participate in the World Turkey-Eating Championship at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Chestnut won the contest in Connecticut, setting a record by devouring an entire bird. (AP Photo/The Day, Dana Jensen)  MANDATORY CREDIT
In this Nov. 22, 2014 photo, Joey Chestnut, center, and the other eaters participate in the World Turkey-Eating Championship at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Chestnut won the contest in Connecticut, setting a record by devouring an entire bird. (AP Photo/The Day, Dana Jensen) MANDATORY CREDIT

Joey Chestnut, left, and Matt Stonie compete in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest men's competition Saturday July 4, 2015 in the Coney Island section in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Stonie came in first eating 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Chestnut came in second eating 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Joey Chestnut, left, and Matt Stonie compete in Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest men’s competition Saturday July 4, 2015 in the Coney Island section in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Stonie came in first eating 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Chestnut came in second eating 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

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Update 10/11/15:  Joey Chestnut wins Ben's Chili Bowl contest by eating 7 1/14 gallons of chili in six minutes. (Facebook/Ben's Chili Bowl)
 Joey Chestnut wins the Men's Division with 61 Hot Dogs at the 2014 Nathan's Famous 4th July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Eric Adams, Joey Chestnut, Matt Stonie
Joey Chestnut
In this Nov. 22, 2014 photo, Joey Chestnut, center, and the other eaters participate in the World Turkey-Eating Championship at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Chestnut won the contest in Connecticut, setting a record by devouring an entire bird. (AP Photo/The Day, Dana Jensen)  MANDATORY CREDIT
Joey Chestnut, left, and Matt Stonie compete in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest men's competition Saturday July 4, 2015 in the Coney Island section in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Stonie came in first eating 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Chestnut came in second eating 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

UPDATE: Joey Chestnut lives up to his reputation, winning Ben’s Chili Bowl’s annual chili eating championship AGAIN on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. He finished first by eating 7.25 gallons in six minutes!

WASHINGTON — Last year, Joey Chestnut ate two gallons of chili in six minutes.

Two gallons of chili. In six minutes. And you thought you ate a lot at Thanksgiving.

“Two gallons is a pretty tough mark to hit,” the competitive eater told WTOP on Friday. “I’ve done it a couple times, but the Ben’s chili is delicious, so that makes it a lot easier.”

On Saturday, Chestnut will compete in the 2015 Ben’s Chili Bowl’s World Chili Eating Championship in the District. He won last year’s event by scarfing down 7.5 bowls of chili.

Can he do it again?

“I’m hoping I can,” Chestnut said. “The competition’s gonna be pushing me. I love to eat and I love to win, so competitive eating is perfect for me.”

This year, Chestnut faces tough competition from local residents Sonya Thomas — of Alexandria, Virginia — and Juliet Lee — of Germantown, Maryland. A total of 11 eaters will compete in this weekend’s event.

Nicknamed “Jaws,” Chestnut has been a competitive eater for 10 years. He’s eaten a variety of foods along the way — including 12 pounds of asparagus spears, 182 chicken wings and 141 hardboiled eggs. In 2007, Chestnut defeated six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi in the 92nd annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by eating 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, a world record.

Chestnut said it’s easier to prepare for chili eating contests. Hot dogs involve a lot of chewing; with chili, if you like the taste of it, just make your stomach is empty to consume large portions. Chestnut was fasting when he visited WTOP — no solid food, a little bit of liquid amino acid and lots of water.

And sure, competitive eating is an acquired taste, but it’s just as rigorous as other sports.

“It’s like anybody who pushes to a ridiculous limit, whether you’re a runner or boxer,” Chestnut said of the after-effects. “You’re gonna feel like garbage.”

“I have some Pepto-Bismol in the fridge,” he concluded. “But once I get [the food] down, I’m exhausted. I have to stand around and talk to people for a while and let the food settle. Then, when I’m done, I just wanna take a nap.”

Saturday’s contest takes place at 3 p.m. EST at the Taste of D.C. Festival along Pennsylvania Avenue. The top prize is $1,750.

Watch Chestnut win last year’s chili eating contest below.

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