Forget the tram car! I risked life and limb- literally!- to sit down with Justin Vitti, an enthusiastic competitor in tomorrow’s Curley’s Fry Eating Competition. We talked over a barrel of Curley’s Fries and I learned I had to be quick (and watch my fingers) to snag just a few fries!
Have you ever done any food challenges at a restaurant?
I have attempted quite a number of eating challenges at restaurants:
- Tony Luke’s Cheesesteak Challenge, Philadelphia PA – 5lb Cheesesteak in 24 mins
- CheeBurger CheeBurger, Cherry Hill NJ – 20 oz. burger in less than 5 mins
- Goodnight Irene’s – 2.5lbs of tacos in 4 mins (challenge was to be done in 5 mins)
- Buffalo Wings in Columbus, OH – 2nd place; 3.5 dozen wings in 7 mins
That’s gross…I mean, impressive! Do you have any eating idols or influences?
Of the professionals, I admire Takeru Kobayashi out of Japan and then personally, there is my Uncle Lance. My uncle is my major influence in eating food fast. I remember him teaching me how to scarf down a cheesesteak when I was only 8 years old or so. He also got me into spicy foods at a very young age. Even to this day, we kind of go head to head at family get togethers- especially Thanksgiving when it comes to mashed potatoes and stuffing. We also got kicked out of an all you can eat buffet one time for taking an entire tray of roast beef back to our table and eating it.
Do you remember the first time you ate Curley’s Fries?
I don’t remember when the first time I had them was. I have lived in this area for almost 24 years now and I have memories of getting the fries even before I lived here when I would visit family. I do know that I prefer the thick hearty fries over the crispy end pieces, like my girlfriend.
That must work out well! No fighting over fries. What’s your favorite way to eat Curley’s Fries? Old bay seasoning? Cuban Spice? Dipped in cheese? Covered in ketchup? Mayo?
My favorite way to eat them is with cheese and with ketchup. Always dip in the cheese first then the ketchup so the cheese is not “cross contaminated.” Once in a while, I like to add some vinegar to the mix as well.
Do you have a favorite out of the new seasoning options?
I have not had the pleasure of trying the new flavors just yet.
Maybe you can warm up for the competition with some Cuban Spiced Curley’s Fries! Do you have a strategy in mind for the eating competition?
Yes! I would rather not tip this though, as I feel my strategy will enable me to be victorious over my competitors. Let’s just say it involves A LOT of cabbage and water.
Sounds like a well balanced diet! How many buckets do you think you can eat in 5 minutes?
I am going to shoot for at least 2 buckets in 5 mins. This should give me a great pace of a bucket every 2.5 minutes.
That’s probably more Curley’s Fries than I’ve eaten in my lifetime! Do you have any words of encouragement for your fellow competitors?
Good luck! Remember, if you do have to puke, swallow it down; it doesn’t count as a “Reversal of Fortune.”