It was such an honour to be asked by Utca Chimney Cakes & Coffee House to come over and judge their chimney dog eating competition. What’s a chimney dog, you ask? To answer that, you first need to understand chimney cakes.
Chimney cakes (or kürtőskalács) are hollow tube-shaped pastries made by wrapping dough around a metal cylinder before baking. A popular street food in Hungary and in parts of Romania, chimney cakes are traditionally topped with sprinklings of ground nuts, cinnamon or sugar. Utca’s version comes with a variety of toppings coating the exterior of the cake as well as spreads coating the inside. They also use these pastries to make a variety of other snacks, like ice cream cones, breakfast sandwiches, cold cut subs and of course, “chimney dogs”.
Kim, Jordan, Matt and I were a little nervous walking up. We had no idea what to expect or if this was even really happening. It all seemed a little too good to be true until we opened the door and saw a man in athletic wear doing some light stretches next to long tables lined with paper cups and official-looking binders. Ok, so at least we were in the right place!
There were 8 participants, who’d each paid $10 to enter for a chance to win a sweet trophy, $100 cash and a free chimney dog every week for a year. (Just so you know, that’s 52 – I’m great at math!) Each participant had five minutes to eat as many as they could with a judge assigned to stand across from them flipping cards to tally their score. Jordan and I pitched in as judges while Matt and Kim documented the whole thing. To be honest, it’s basically impossible to take a flattering photo of someone eating a hot dog. If you really want to see the gruesome details, send me an email and we’ll see what we can do.
As you might have imagined, the man in athletic wear ended up taking home the big prize after eating 8 hot dogs! He turned out to be @stepdaddyj, a professional competitive eater who had flown in from BC. (Kim swears she thought he was holding back – perhaps saving himself for a bigger competition in the near future!) His technique seemed to be alternating between jumping up and down, then taking hearty swigs of his “special drink” that he’d brought along in a large, reused Simply Orange jug.
There isn’t a lot more you can say about a hot dog eating competition, but here are our key takeaways:
- Technique is everything – have your style, and stick to it. We saw ketchup smearers, water dippers, disassemblers and throat jammers. I honestly can’t say which is best.
- Vegan chimney dogs or bust. My friends and I were quite shocked to learn that 75% of the participants had requested vegan dogs. I’m not sure if that’s because vegans love to eat competitively or if vegan hot dogs go down more easily.
- Believe in your pre-game rituals. The winner did his stretches and drank religiously from his Simply Orange jug. Don’t mess with a good thing.
Thanks again so much to Utca for having us out. It was a fantastic event and they’ve promised to host similar events in the future! I’ll definitely have my eyes peeled for the next one and suggest you watch for it as well. This was a memorable start to an evening, to be sure!