Joseph “Joey” Christian Chestnut (born November 25, 1983) is an American competitive eater. He is currently ranked first in the world by Major League Eating. He is a Vallejo, California, native and resides in San Jose, California. Chestnut’s height is 6-feet-one-inch (1.9 m); his weight is 230 pounds (104 kg).
On July 4, 2007, Chestnut won the 92nd Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, beating six-time defending champion Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi by consuming 66 hot dogs and buns (HDB) in 12 minutes, which set a new world record. The following year, he successfully defended his title by winning a 5 hot dog eat-off after tying Kobayashi in consuming 59 HDB in 10 minutes. On July 4, 2009, Chestnut beat Kobayashi again, by consuming a new world record of 68 HDB and winning his third consecutive title. On July 4, 2010, Chestnut took home his 4th consecutive Mustard Belt eating 54 HDB. The 2010 contest was a runaway victory, as Kobayashi did not compete due to a contract dispute with Major League Eating. On July 4, 2011, he won his fifth-consecutive championship with 62 HDB. 2012 marked his sixth consecutive win, when Chestnut tied his own world record from 2009 by devouring 68 HDB. In 2013, Chestnut captured his seventh straight title, eating a total of 69 HDB, breaking his previous world record. In 2014, Chestnut captured his eighth straight title eating a total of 61 HDB.
Chestnut proposed to his longtime girlfriend Neslie Ricasa just before defending his title in the 2014 Nathan’s competition. The couple split up in early 2015, prior to their scheduled wedding date.
Chestnut lost the 2015 Hot Dog eating contest to Matt Stonie. On July 4, 2016, Chestnut regained the championship belt from Stonie by eating 70 hot dogs; 3.5 hot dogs short of his record-setting qualifying round. A year later on July 4, 2017, he raised the bar again by raising his record to 72 hot dogs.
Chestnut, a San Jose State University student, entered the competitive eating scene in 2005 with a break-out performance in the deep-fried asparagus eating championship, in which he beat high-ranked eater Rich LeFevre by eating 6.3 pounds of asparagus in 11.5 minutes. That same year, during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, he downed 32 dogs, placing third behind Takeru Kobayashi and Sonya Thomas.
World Records Held
Deep Fried Asparagus Eating Championship in Stockton, California, May 2014: 12.8 lbs. deep fried asparagus in 10 minutes.
Pork ribs: 13.76 pounds pork rib meat in 12 minutes at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort during the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off in Sparks, Nevada on August 28, 2013.
Steak: 4.5 pounds of steak, plus sides, in 8 minutes, 52 seconds at Big Texan Steak Ranch on March 24, 2008. Chestnut’s record was broken on Monday May 26, 2014 by competitive eater Molly Schuyler, who finished in 4 minutes, 58 seconds; by the next year she bested her own record, currently at 4 minutes, 18 seconds.
(Hot Dogs) Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and buns (HDB): 72 HDB in 10 minutes during the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier in Coney Island, New York on July 4, 2013. This record is backed by MLE and shared with Takeru Kobayashi. This beat by 1 the record he set in the Nathan’s event in 2009, and tied in 2012.
Matzoh Balls: 78 matzoh balls in 8 minutes at Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston, Texas on March 2, 2008
Bratwurst: 70 bratwursts in 10 minutes at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cincinnati, OH on September 22, 2013.
Hard Boiled Eggs: 141 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes at the Radcliff Fall Festival in Radcliff, KY on October 5, 2013.
Pork Roll: 32 quarter-pound pork roll sandwiches in 10 minutes at the Trenton Thunder World Famous Case’s Pork Roll Eating Championship in Trenton, NJ on September 26, 2015.
Mutton Sandwich: 55 of 4oz mutton sandwiches in 10 minutes at 2017 International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky
Every one knows about the hot dogs, with Chestnut a perennial champ of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 in Coney Island.
But tacos are no problem, either, as he showed again this Saturday on day 2 of the Taco Truck Throwdown at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California.
Chestnut gave those on hand a show when he stuffed down 92 carne asada tacos in 8 minutes to win the World Taco Eating Championship at Throwdown 7.
“The heat was really hard so I was sweating a little bit more than I should,” said Chestnut, who pocketed $4,000 for the win and said he’ll return next summer to defend his title. “I had little deep coughs where it came out a little bit. I wasn’t burping or anything; the food wasn’t settling fast enough, but it worked out.”
And if you think that means Chestnut didn’t get to enjoy what was put in front of him?
“The food was delicious,” he said.
Joey demonstrates his rare talent