Joseph 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 Westfield, Indiana. Chestnut’s height is 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m); his weight is 230 pounds (100 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 a world record 66 hot dogs and buns (HDB) in 12 minutes, after losing to Kobayashi in 2005 and 2006. The following year, he successfully defended his title by winning a five hot dog eat-off after tying Kobayashi in consuming 59 HDB in ten minutes. On July 4, 2009, Chestnut beat Kobayashi again, by consuming a world record 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 lost the 2015 Nathan’s 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; and again the following year to a world record of 74. In 2019, he secured a twelfth title with 71 HDB, but failed to beat his previous record. In 2020, he consumed 75 HDB, a world record for the contest. In 2021, he consumed 76 HDB, breaking his own world record for the contest.
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 (2.9 kg) of asparagus in 11.5 minutes. That same year, during Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, he ate 32 HDB, placing third behind Takeru Kobayashi and Sonya Thomas.
On October 22, 2005, Chestnut set a new world record for downing 32.5 grilled cheese sandwiches in ten minutes at the Arizona State Fair, as part of the GoldenPalace.net World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship circuit.
Chestnut defeated Thomas in the Waffle House World Waffle Eating Championship and placed second to her in a Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship qualifier, eating 56 Krystal Burgers in eight minutes to her 57. He later beat her by eating 91 hamburgers in the finals, finishing second to the 97 hamburgers consumed by Kobayashi.
Chestnut trains by fasting and by stretching his stomach with milk, water and protein supplements. Since the start of his competitive eating career, his competition weight has varied from 225–240 pounds (102–109 kg). After winning his sixth consecutive hot dog eating contest in 2012 by eating 68 hot dogs, he stated, “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.” He says he trains for hot dog eating competitions by cooking hot dogs at his house and then eating them in a simulated competition style. He starts with 40 hot dogs and then works his way up until he is in game shape. He compared it to running or lifting weights for other athletes.
This is not exactly a classic sports moment.