Masters of Mastication: Kale Eating Champion of the World Gideon Oji

The world of competitive eating is an interesting one indeed. Once dominated by large men who looked as though they would be asked to leave if they spent too much time at an all you can eat establishment, the current contenders are short, slender fellows who, when not eating, can be found running marathons! Then, there’s Gideon Oji.

At 6’9″ tall, weighing just over 200 lbs, Oji is a giant in the sport. His demeanor is that of a professional athlete; calm and collected, and always ready with a smile fan a fan. His athletic prowess can probably be traced back to his days playing basketball at Clayton State, outside of Atlanta. His love for food and over-eating, however,  dates back to his days as a young man in Nigeria, looking forward to taking down any leftovers his mother, a street food vendor in in rural Nigeria outside of Abuja, would let him have.

Recently, Oji was nice enough to answer a few questions from us while preparing to be introduced at the Sweet Corn Festival at the South Florida Fairgrounds, where he finished second with 56 ears of corn in 12 minutes!

What’s your favorite food? My best food is moi moi, it’s a food native to Nigeria
How did you get started in eating competitions? I started eating professionally 3 years ago, I knew I had a healthy appetite and I was going to get into pro eating, after playing college ball.
Of all the events you’ve competed in, which is your favorite? Corn is one of my favorites because its very athletic, difficult and you have to have some good jaw muscle to be very good at it.
Did you enjoy your time in the Palm Beaches? I love West Palm Beach. It’s very beautiful. I should go check out the beach today after the contest.
What advice would you give to up and coming eaters interested in competition? My advice to anybody that want to do competitive eating is go pickup another sport because it’s is not for the faint of heart; most quit after trying one or two contests.
What’s your next eating challenge? My next event is mutton sandwich.

Of course, the corn eating contest is not the only eating challenge in the Palm Beaches. 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, and continuing the profiles for as long as we have food fights in our soul. 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!