Joey Chestnut is the king of competitive eating. You almost certainly have seen video clips of him gulping down dozens of hot dogs, boiled eggs, tacos, wings, burritos, Twinkies and/or spears of deep-fried asparagus. He in fact has more than 50 gastronomic world records, including a vaunted 76 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, with buns, eaten in 10 minutes. He’s the first to admit that competitive eating is a little weird, but he has a natural affinity for it, and it allows him to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. He confirms in his IBJ Podcast interview recent reports that he earned close to $500,000 in 2022.
A few things brought him to the IBJ Podcast studio in late November. He recently moved to Westfield, which now is his home base for spending about 140 days a year on the road. He chats about the reasons in his conversation with podcast host Mason King. Chestnut also was preparing for the 10th Annual St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship, which this year was staged on Dec. 2 as part of the festivities for the Big Ten Football Championship. He explains how he prepares to down somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 pounds of shrimp, plus St. Elmo’s extra-potent cocktail sauce. (He recently hit 40, and it’s not as easy as it used to be.) But the lion’s share of the conversation concerns how he built a career in competitive eating and all of the revenue streams he leverages to make a good living.
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