Masters of Mastication: The World Awaits as Food Feuders gather in Coney Island

Each and every Independence Day, the best culinary competitors in the world gather at the temple of the American Weiner, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, to try and consume as many of these spectacular sausages as they can shovel into their gullet. Many of these titans of tonsils have trained for years just to be given the honor of sitting on stage alongside all time greats as Joey Chesnut and the cool as a cucumber Takeru Kobayashi.

Following the Sweet Corn Eating Contest at the South Florida Fairgrounds, one of the qualifiers for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest, we here at Palm Beach Happening were lucky enough to profile some of these pig out powerhouses, and find more out about the fastest growing sport on Earth!

  • Carmen Cincotti – The 12-minute sweet corn eating event is “the ultimate test of technique and capacity, a marathon in which focus and emotional calm is more important than pure power.” At the 2016 event, Yasir Salem ate 47 ears of Florida sweet corn to set a new world record. This year, the old record was destroyed by relative newcomer Carmen Cincotti, who devoured 61 and 3/4 ears of Florida Sweet corn!  Following his record setting victory, Cincotti took a few moments out of his busy schedule to explain his love of the sport, his favorite foods, and his goal for next year’s event.
  • Yasir Salem – At the 2016 event, Yasir Salem ate 47 ears of Florida sweet corn to set a new world record. This year, he only made it through 45, while the old record was destroyed by relative newcomer Carmen Cincotti, who devoured 61 and 3/4 ears of Florida Sweet corn! Following his defeat, Salem took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk about his love affair with fitness and food.
  • Matt Cohen – One of the amazing athletes who compete in a sport where food is the opponent, time is the enemy, and the dinner table is the field of battle! We continue our profile of these “Masters of Mastication” with “Sweet Tooth” Matt Cohen.
  • Pedram EsmaeelzadehAlmost everyone loves to eat, but for one reason or another, some are drawn to eat for a living. Whether it is for the thrill of the game, the ability to exercise muscles you don’t know you have, or simply the ability to consume mass quantities of a wide variety of yummy sustenance, no one knows for sure. We profile another one of the individuals who are reaching for culinary immortality: Pedram Esmaeelzadeh.
  • Pablo Martinez –  In the eternal battle that is Man Versus Food, there are many competitors who choose to take their love for all things edible to the next level. Some show up to county fairs looking for glory, while others take their passion to the world stage and become some of the greatest culinary heroes the world has ever known. We profile the 20th ranked eater in the world; a man whose love of food knows no bounds, and whose enthusiasm for his chosen sport makes all of us better people: Pablo Martinez.
  • The Notorious B.O.B. – With eating, as in life, sometimes music and food go hand in hand. The musical stylings of Badlands Booker are legendary, and the food stylings of the Notorious B.O.B. can easily be compared to the over the top beats that the Notorious B.I.G. brought to the mic.
  • Molly Schuler –  Competitive eating isn’t only a man’s game. Quite the contrary, in fact. For many years, eating has been one of the most universal of sporting endeavors, where the only thing that matters is how much you consume, and how quickly you do it. We profile a woman whose iron stomach is almost as formidable as her winning smile. A woman who can eat you out of house and home, and then wonder if there’s any more food. A woman who is the top ranked female eater; Molly Schuler!
  • Naader Reda – There are men who live to eat, there are men who eat to live, and then, there are men who search out the ultimate food challenges and try to fit as much food into their bellies as possible.
  • Rene Rovtar – Not every person who sits down at the altar of food considers themselves a professional eater. All of us have, at one point in our lives, watched some sort of dining contest and said, “I can do that!” At this year’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, seated amongst some of the most powerful eaters humanity has ever known will be a few “normal people” who looked in awe at the culinary competitors and said that could be me!
  • Kelvin Medina –  Competitive eating is a worldwide sport. Every culture has their own take on the battle of man versus food, and by no means does the United States of America hold the mantle of food feuds on their own. The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Tuesday will showcase amazing eaters not only from the USA, but also happy hot dog fanatics from Japan, Nigeria, and more. We feature one of the Phillipines finest food fans; Kelvin Medina.
  • Mary Bowers –  One of the most universal passions in our world is the love of food, and this week’s “Master of Mastication” takes that passion to the next level! With her quirky outfits, tiny stature, and an abundance of spunk, Mary Bowers has shown that in the world of competitive eating, she is the real deal. Recently, Bowers took a few moments out of her busy schedule to explain her love of the sport, fashion, food, and more!


For those who plan to make the trip to Surf and Stillwell Avenue at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY on July 4th:

Pre-show festivities will begin at 10:00 am with performances by a variety of musical and dance acts. The women’s competition began at 11:00 am, while the men’s competition will start at 12:30 pm. Some 30,000 fans are expected to attend.

The ESPN broadcast details can be found at:

As a note, ESPN’s website lists broadcast schedules based on local time/ service provider, so check local listings for more information.

Fans can follow @originalnathans and @eatingcontest on Twitter, as well as #roadtoconey for real time updates.

Palm Beach Happening thanks all the “Masters of Mastication” for all their help and enthusiasm. We look forward to seeing what future acts of gastronomical gall you conquer in the future! 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.

Be sure to check back with us on Thursday, as Road to Coney competitor Mary Bowers will provide us with her unique insight into the event. Of course, everyone is invited to follow Mary at @EatBeMary for the latest food, fashion, and fun for the 4th from Coney Island.