Competitive Eating & Lost Potential

By: Parth Mukhi

Competitive eating is one of the most gruesome, nauseating events to witness. Yet Major League Eating (MLE) continues to makes millions of dollars, holding around 80 events every year. Unfortunately, the sports greatest rivalry of Joey Chestnut vs. Takeru Kobayashi has been stalled since 2010.

Between the two, Kobayashi & Chestnut currently hold 29 world records with the MLE. The latter of which owning 25, but this is due to the to the ongoing contract dispute between Kobayashi & the MLE. This dispute is the reason Kobayashi has not competed in an official eating contest since 2010, but his own competitions, either by himself or with subpar competitors. Meanwhile, Chestnut has been tearing up the ranks of competitive eating. He’s won the granddaddy of eating events, the Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, a record seven straight times. Thus surpassing Kobayashi’s record of six straight.

The rivalry between Kobayashi (left) & Chestnut (right) was just growing into greatness

The main issues standing in the way of the contract between the two sides is that Kobayashi believes that, “the organization that produces the event cannot be the same agency that also owns the athletes.” Meaning, the MLE is the main body which contracts all their eaters, rather than the competitors having their own separate agents, like in most other sports. Kobayashi’s wish was for more freedom. He asked to be let go of the other three events he was set to compete in, and only enter the Nathan’s events. From what Kobayashi has said, the MLE countered with a $40,000 contract for the July 2010 & 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and stated that he could not compete in any other eating events for the year in the U.S. or Canada. His sponsorships were also limited to only MLE sanctioned companies.

For the sport, this dispute is a shame. The two top ranked eaters in the world, both in the prime of their careers. MLE President George Shea remains adamant that Kobayashi was offered $100,000 for 4 events, with $25,000 guaranteed whether he won or loss. While, Kobayashi feels like he’s fighting for the future of the sport and its competitors, Chestnut continues to dominate. Upon eating 68 hot dogs at Nathan’s in 2012, he declared, “I will not stop until I reach 70. This sport isn’t about eating. It’s about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind.” The following year he would break this record by eating 69 hot dogs. This was impressive, but it had already been done. Kobayashi ate 69, two years prior, at an off-site event, with independent judges there to establish the record.

Chestnut (left) has been making light of his competition due to Kobayashi’s (right) absence

Event by event, this sport is missing out on what should be it’s “Golden Era.” This should be the time period in which competitive eating rises among the ranks, starts to hold more and more televised events, begins to make more sponsorships, and attract new fans. The rivalry between Kobayashi & Chestnut could have the equal affect on competitive eating that Magic Johnson & Larry Bird had on the NBA. Potential being wasted due to this contract dispute is heartbreaking. Hopefully either Shea or Kobayashi will eventually come together, and put the sport above their beliefs, and realize the potential for greatness that is right in front of them.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

Stadium Food

By: Parth Mukhi

Food & Baseball. Arguably two of the most popular things in all of New York. Put these two together, and now you have a fun evening. Yankee Stadium & Citi Field live up to the New York hype by having some of the best ballpark food in all of Major League Baseball.

The main ballpark food is uniform throughout the League. Peanuts, Cracker Jack, and Hot Dogs still reign deep in the average baseball fan’s heart. However, baseball stadiums have become more than just about baseball. Teams have become better equipped at providing more forms of entertainment for the the fans. This includes restaurants. Especially in New York, where food is of the widest variety, both the Mets & the Yankees have filled their stadiums corner to corner with great restaurants and food stands.

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Personally, certain restaurants at one stadium have more to offer than certain restaurants at the other. A main attraction for Yankee Stadium is the Hard Rock Cafe. While the standouts at Citi Field are Shake Shack & Blue Smoke. Both have the usual Carvel Ice Cream and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, in stands and with vendors walking around the stadium.

Shake Shack is one of the more popular locations at Citi Field. Have fun missing an inning or two, though, if you decide to wait in that extensive line. What disappointed me the most, after that long wait, were the portion sizes. The milkshake was only offered in one small cup. No complaints about the taste of anything, though. The Shack Burger definitely helped ease the pain from the wait, and the shake, though small, was served in a wide cup. All in all, Shake Shack is a very decent part of the Citi Field experience.

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Lines on Lines on Lines

The Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium is open year round, and offers several attractions for fans. Aside from the food, there is a collection of memorabilia specifically focused on New York based musicians. The restaurant is made up of 12 flat screen TVs, most of them playing the game at hand. A downside to my visit to the Hard Rock Cafe was missing that in game experience. Though the 12 TVs are convenient, something about sitting there and watching the game on TV, while you’re in the stadium, makes you feel like you just paid $125 per ticket to sit at the Hard Rock Cafe, eat okay food, and watch a television. It’s preferable to go there either on a non-game day, or during pre or post game.

Baseball games wouldn’t be the same without hearing, “Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs! Get your Hot Dog’s here!” Nathan’s Famous is pretty uniform for both Yankee Stadium & Citi Field, except for one important difference. The foot-long hot dog. Yankee Stadium has it. Citi Field does not. Nathan’s doesn’t serve this hot dog in any other MLB park. In fact, Yankee Stadium is somewhat famous for it. Image

Located right next to Shake Shack is the New York BBQ movement: Blue Smoke. Unlike Shake Shack, however, you won’t miss as much of the game in this line. I was in & out with my Chipotle BBQ Wings & Sierra Mist in 5 minutes. The cup sizes were around the same size they were at Shake Shack, so you do end up buying another drink later on. On the other hand, the wings were incredible. If you’re like me, and actually want more flavor on the wings, get two of the blue cheese cartons they offer. Though the vendor did seem confusingly upset when I asked him for a second.

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Wings in Centerfield a.k.a. Angels in the Outfield

If you ever attend a game at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, definitely check these spots and judge for yourself. When attending the game, you’ll want the full experience, along with everything the stadium has to offer. Just going to the game isn’t enough anymore.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

Celebrating the Fourth with the “World Series” of Major League Eating

Tomorrow, while the rest of America celebrates Independence Day, thousands of people will watch the top competitive eaters from around the world binge until they can’t anymore. Major League Eating (MLE), the main organization that sponsors the “sport” of competitive eating, will be airing the 97th Annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN at 3pm. Several devoted fans will crowd Coney Island in Brooklyn to watch the event live.

Many people who watch the competition annually are still upset that Takeru Kobayashi, who championed this contest for six consecutive years from 2001 to 2006, will not be participating because he refused to sign a contract with MLE. Kobayashi lost grasp of his winning streak in 2007 when Joey Chestnut, a younger competitor, came out on top and continued as champion for the past five years straight. Kobayashi seemed to have lost his appetite for victory and stopped competing in Nathan’s altogether after his loss to Chestnut in 2009. Chestnut holds the official world record of chomping down 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The men’s and women’s competitions are held separately each year. The women’s competition, in which Sonya Thomas will appear to defend her title, will take place live at 11:30 AM, and the men’s competition will follow at 12 noon. Competitors will be eating like there’s no tomorrow to win the 1st place cash prize of $10,000 and the famous “bejeweled” belt, which is mustard yellow for men and pink for women.

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Will MLE and Kobayashi come to an agreement by next year and satisfy the public’s hunger for a faceoff between him and Chestnut? We’ll have to wait and see, but for now Chestnut seems to be the top dog that everyone is rooting for to come home with the title for the sixth year in a row.

Watching the contest will be a great way for everyone to get into the spirit of Independence Day, which most of us celebrate by eating until we’re in a food coma. Or, at least I do. So enjoy the beautiful weather with your friends and family. Happy 4th of July!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com