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How These Five Competitive Eaters Are Turning Their Unique Talent Into A Lucrative Career


How These Five Competitive Eaters Are Turning Their Unique Talent Into A Lucrative Career

When doom-scrolling through reels, we often encounter a niche that’s so intriguing that we become immersed almost immediately. One of these niches is that of competitive eating. In this type of content, competitors take on restaurant food challenges to consume a large amount of food in a short amount of time to win a free meal and a free t-shirt or other restaurant memorabilia items. 

Over the years there have always been new faces added to the small pool of regulars, but the concept is all the same. Influencers will go to a restaurant that is hosting a challenge and they will take it on in hopes of being the first to beat it or the person to set a new record.

Some of these personalities that have captured our attention are people like Erik Booker, Max Suzuki, Matt Stonie, Katina from Karina Eats Kilos, and Adam Moran from Beard Meats Food.

Let’s dive into this niche and further explore the intriguing content of competitive eating.

How These Five Competitive Eaters Are Turning Their Unique Talent Into A Lucrative Career

The Appeal of Restaurant Challenges

The subculture of eating challenges and competitions has recently become more popular than it has been in the past.  With the growing popularity and interest in the niche space, some wonder exactly where this all started. To answer that question we will have to go down to The Big Texan Steak Ranch and Crown Candy Kitchen. 

This establishment is where the roots of all competitive eating and food challenges started, but where it got its notoriety was through TV programs like Man V. Food, which pushed the concept of food challenges out to the masses and inspired other restaurants to create similar challenges.

In the competitive eating landscape, things have become a bit more diverse. With just 2,300 food challenges in the USA alone, we can see the trend didn’t only spread to restaurants but became a movement within itself. Outside of the USA this trend has been adopted and embraced in over 15 countries, such as Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, and Australia. Whether it be a burger challenge or a hottest wings boat with a time limit, people have been enjoying being able to test their limits and take on a challenge to become a part of this culinary movement.

  1. Max Suzuki

Born in 1980, in Itabashi City Japan, Max Suzuki is currently Japan’s Number 1 ranked competitive eater. Max had learned the world of competitive eating by being an understudy to his mentor, Takeru Kobayashi, who is a USA household name for his run in the Nathans Famous Hot Dog eating competition. Being his understudy it is no surprise that Max was able to solidify a spot in 2018 by eating 42.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the qualifiers. Max has a massive following on his YouTube, Max Suzuki TV,  where he can be seen eating an array of items from noodles, Soups, Fried Rice, Burgers, and much much more.  

From his vast popularity has come a lot of lucrative opportunities for Max in the culinary world. Recently he partnered with the Daisho Group which has made waves in the food delivery world by opening the 165 locations simultaneously on January 29, 2021, and made the ordering only available via Uber Eats. This is a perfect example of how entering this niche can have its perks and opportunities seem to present themselves almost on their own.

  1. Matt Stonie 

Matthew Stonie is a YouTuber and competitive eater from the United States. Stonie won the famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2015 and by doing so he also dethroned Joey Chesnut who had won the challenge for eight years straight.

Media outlets worldwide called for a rematch stating that fans were upset. However, keen competitive eating followers knew that he was the rightful winner. This win is what spearheaded Matt Stonie’s popularity and fame in the space. 

He’s remained a force to be reckoned with in competitive eating, choosing the events that he participates in carefully and making fan appearances regularly. He currently has over 16 million subscribers on YouTube alone, those stats are unmatched by other competitive eaters in the space, with Erik Booker coming a close second with a mere 3.5 million subscribers.

According to Matt, “Succeeding as a competitive eater comes down to one major element: Preparation. Self-care is a major part of the game. Those few minutes I spend on stage during a contest require hours and hours of physical training, mental discipline, and special dieting.”

  1. Eric Booker

Eric James “Badlands” Booker, is also known online by his crazy pseudonym and channel handle BadlandsChugs. Eric is an American YouTuber, rapper, and competitive eater. 

In the space, he’s often referred to as “The People’s Champ,” after having maintained the top IFOCE position for years. 

However, Eric is way more than just a competitive eater – he’s a TV personality. Booker’s made appearances on television, including popular programs such as Last Call with Carson Daly and Wife Swap.

He currently has 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube and regularly posts content related to competitive eating challenges.

  1. Katina Eats Kilos

Katina Eats Kilos is a YouTube personality and competitive eater. Her rise to fame began in 2029 after competing in a local bodybuilding competition. Her appetite and competitive personality traits led her to enter restaurant challenges in the Washington area. 

She went on to win most of the restaurant challenges with relative ease, and according to her “the rest is history and she was hooked”. Not long after that, she started posting videos to her YouTube channel where she would be undertaking food challenges, cheat day walk-throughs, and eating stunts, while also road-tripping through the U.S. on the hunt for restaurant challenges she could try her hand at. 

Katina currently has 713 thousand subscribers on her YouTube account.

  1. Beard Meats Food

BearMeatsFood is a popular competitive eating YouTube channel run by Adam Moran a British national, professional eater, and content creator. 

Adam is a former banker and resides in Leeds, U.K. He’s also an accomplished personal trainer, in regards to competitive eating he states that pairing the sport with two or more hours of weight training each day has enhanced his fat ratio. 

Adam participated in his first competitive eating challenge in 2015 after dieting and allowing his body fat ratio to sink to below 8%. He then proceeded to launch his YouTube channel and began eating professionally a couple of years later. 

At one point, Adam was a food tester for an American diner in the U.K. The diner’s owners took out a million-pound insurance policy that primarily covered Adam’s tastebuds and stomach.

Adam Moran competed in the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and placed 10th position in 2019.

Currently, Adam’s YouTube channel features him roadtripping across the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and the United States undertaking restaurant challenges and attempting to beat the leaderboards. During the filming of the challenges, he chats with the owners, staff, and the camera, apologizing for his beard mess.

His YouTuber channel currently boasts 3.7 million subscribers.

A Final Word

The competitive eating niche has grown tenfold over the last couple of years and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Audiences seem to love the thrill of watching creators undertake these food challenges. Is it the struggle and discomfort that appeals to subscribers? Or perhaps audiences see it more as a sport and are drawn into the competitive nature of the space. 

Either way, no matter what the reason may be, these creators have it all figured out. 

Romilly Anne Glenton

Romilly A. Glenton is a Spain-based writer with a deep passion for the influencer economy and creator space. Her writings offer insightful perspectives on digital trends and the evolving landscape of social media influencers. Living in the heart of Spain, Romilly's work is infused with a unique blend of traditional cultural insights and modern digital developments. She skillfully dissects viral trends and influencer marketing strategies, making complex topics accessible and engaging. Her articles are not just informative, but a reflection of her own journey through the rapidly changing digital world. When she's not writing, Romilly enjoys exploring Spain's rich culture, drawing inspiration for her insightful pieces.

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