Takeru Kobayashi, world-renowned competitive eating champion, shared tips, tricks and stories from his professional career with Yeshiva University students on the Wilf Campus on February 23.
At an event organized by YU’s Stern College for Women Chemistry Club, Kobayashi discussed training techniques and health concerns involved in the competitive eating process. He also emphasized the importance of mindful eating. “I’m a competitive eater but also a foodie,” said Kobayashi. “I enjoy food more than the average person. When I’m not competing, I like to focus on the atmosphere and the taste and texture of food.”
As a college student, Kobayashi stumbled on his unique talent when a local restaurant held a contest to see who could eat the most curry rice. The prize: free curry rice. “I ate 5100 grams,” said Kobayashi, or more than 11 pounds. Not only did he win the free rice, but a friend nominated Kobiyashi for a televised competition in Japan that launched his career. Today, he holds Guinness world records for competitive eating in the hamburger, hot dog, meatball, pasta and Twinkie category, and won the Nathan’s Famous Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest an unprecedented six years in a row.
The night included a question-and-answer session with Kobayashi that covered everything from the champion’s favorite foods (yogurt and tofu) to the cultural differences between Japanese and American eaters (portion sizes). Students also grilled Kobayashi about his greatest challenge (a toss-up between eating cow brains and competing with a bear), his hero(Steven Greenberg, recently deceased manager of restaurant 230 Fifth), and the life lessons he has learned in the competitive eating arena.
“I’ve learned how important it is to enjoy the eating process,” said Kobayashi. “It’s such a natural part of being human. When you see someone who is very hungry finally taking that first bite—that’s a great thing.”
As the event drew to a close, Kobayashi helped students devour a massive hamantasch in honor of the upcoming holiday of Purim. Kobayashi donated his speaking fee from the event to Masbia, a nonprofit soup kitchen network and food pantry in New York City.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
When the Chemistry Club of Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women sponsored a talk on the science of eating by competitive eating world champion Takeru Kobayashi, they got a bonus: more men than women in the audience. We don't know the actual numbers involved, but from the photos posted on the YU web site and also on the JTA blog, it appears that the event attracted a plurality of young men.
As reported in the blog YU News:
We don't know if it was the Stern women or the giant hamantasch that attracted the men, but it looks like everyone had a good time, and with Kobayashi in the room, we're sure that there was nothing left of the hamantasch.
(A tip of the kippah to Sheila Zucker for bringing this story to our attention.)