In the heart of Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile 4 at Mr Brisket, a towering figure with a bodybuilder’s physique is meticulously arranging a 5-camera setup.
Meet James Webb, the fifth-ranked competitive eater globally, gearing up for a brisket-eating challenge that will unfold in this vibrant eatery.
James Webb, hailing from Australia, has made a mark in the competitive eating world by clinching world records, including devouring 276 chicken wings in 12 minutes and consuming 59.5 donuts in an impressive 8-minute display.
What began as a pandemic-induced hobby of creating food videos for entertainment has transformed into a full-time pursuit for Webb.
His initiation into the world of competitive eating happened during a spontaneous visit to a local burger joint in Australia.
Confronted with a massive undefeated burger challenge, Webb seized the opportunity, conquered the colossal burger in 23 minutes, and made headlines as the “Boy from Sydney conquers Australia’s biggest burger.”
Competitive eating, recognized as a sport in the US and gaining popularity in places like Canada and Japan, involves participants consuming large quantities of food within a restricted time frame.
For Webb, the journey into this unique realm led him to quit his day job and travel to the US, where he not only participated in various food challenges but also secured a professional contract, becoming the first Australian to qualify for the renowned Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.
Webb’s experiences include competing in front of massive crowds, with over 40,000 people cheering him on at Coney Island. Drawing inspiration from the Korean ‘Mukbang’ trend, he engages with his online audience through live streams, turning food challenges into promotional content for restaurants.
The preparation for competitive eating involves a combination of physical, mental, and strategic training.
Webb emphasizes the importance of stomach stretching, fluid consumption, and mastering techniques such as efficient food removal and quick swallowing.
Addressing potential health risks, Webb acknowledges the dual challenge of maintaining physical fitness while pursuing a career centered around extreme food consumption.
He highlights the importance of weight training, consistency in workouts, and adopting a healthy-eating routine during the off-season, incorporating practices like fasting to readjust his stomach size.
While competitive eating may not be widely known in the UAE, Webb believes it has the potential to gain traction, citing the enthusiastic response he received during a recent food challenge in Marina.
He sees food as a universal force that can bring people together, urging the exploration of diverse cuisines and food competitions in the UAE.
Last Updated: 30 November 2023