Professional eating is a young man’s game. Sure, professionals such as “Badlands” Booker are out there eating their hearts out on an almost weekly basis, but the majority of “food fighters,” if you will, are 20 somethings who you can find running a marathon one week, and eating 20 pounds of hot wings the next.
Today’s food fuedie is such a man. At barely 20 years of age, Ivan Mendoza is dedicated to becoming the best eater in the world!
What’s your favorite food? That’s a tough question for a guy like me. I like breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert you name it I like it. When people get the time to unwind they typically kick back on the recliner watching a fun show or reading an uplifting book. Not me. I’m usually in the kitchen either cooking something new or eating something healthy.
How did you get started in eating competitions? After 9 months of a body building dieting regime, I got down to 4 percent body fat. I didn’t have ice cream in 9 months… Just think about that. Two hundred and seventy days, that’s 6,480 hours without one of earth’s greatest joys. I went to a local ice cream shop and ate a 10 scoop ice cream sundae to be forever engraved in their plaque on the wall of fame. After that day, I vowed to myself that I would never betray myself through ice cream deprivation again. After all, ice cream is happiness.
There seem to be many different styles of eating in competition. What is your philosophy on eating? Stay hungry. Keep moving. Ironically, for me competitive eating ls not about the eating at all. It’s about that simple mantra above. I am a certified health coach with a passion for nutrition. I advocate healthy eating while adopting a physical activity plan that meets your lifestyle needs. So although staying hungry could mean eating your vegetables, whereas keep moving could mean to get in your daily steps – I like to dig deeper. Stay hungry – aim high in life and don’t settle for mediocracy. Have a drive and set goals. Keep moving – learn from your mistakes. Grow from your past because it is never too late to make positive change.
Of all the events you’ve competed in, which is your favorite? I appreciate an event with a crowd. In these short 8-12 minute bouts of eating how much can someone really enjoy the food, especially if they are trying to eat as much as they possibly can? In many cultures, the act of eating is enjoyed over a long period of time – typically a couple of hours over conversation. If you are on stage talking during an Major League Eating Contest – you are probably wearing a striped hat or are in last place. Back on track, an event with a lively crowd, typically at a festival or fair really gets the adrenaline going. I feel young again at these events.
Can you tell us a little bit about your previous experience in competitive eating? I’m a rookie on the circuit. A gentle soul really, nothing elite eaters should fret about when it comes to taking their gastronomical glory. By the time this is published, I should have over 100 man vs food style food challenge wins across the country. That’s a lot of t-shirts, free food, and wall of fames.
What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your career? I managed to get 3rd place at the World MoonPie Eatin’ Championship – I find that to be hilarious. Those things were horrible.
What advice would you give to up and coming eaters interested in competition? Ask yourself the question – why? When you have a purpose in life, things begin to make more sense.
What’s your next eating challenge? I’m very opportunistic. 20-year old graduate student, single – looking for love (you read that right ladies). I go where the wind takes me. However, I am very active on the @ivantheavocado Instagram page, so if I do anything competitive eating related my followers are the first to know.
Become a food fighter in your own right by entering the Pizza Ball Challenge at Mizner Pizzeria in Boca Raton. Do you have what it takes to make it onto the Wall of Balls?
Palm Beach Happening will be profiling one professional eater a week in advance of their “Super Bowl,” the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York. We invite the competitors of the IFOCE to contact us if you have the intestinal fortitude to be profiled here, as a true Master of Mastication!