Facts about Joey Chestnut
Joey Chestnut Biography
Joey Chestnut is by far the most frequent winner of the annual July 4th Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. He ate 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes to score his first win in 2007 (dethroning the six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi) and then won the next seven competitions in a row.
Joey Chestnut began eating competitively in 2005 while a student at San Jose State University; his stomach capacity and his fame rose in tandem. Chestnut first made his name in competitive eating when he ate 59 and 1/2 hot dogs on June 2, 2007 at a contest in Tempe, Arizona. That shattered the previous world record of 53 and 1/2 dogs held by Kobayashi.
According to his profile from the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), Chestnut’s other accomplishments include wolfing 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes in 2006, 15 pounds of shrimp cocktail in 8 minutes in 2016, 141 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes in 2013, and 12.8 pounds of deep-fried asparagus spears in 10 minutes in 2014. Joey Chestnut repeated as the Coney Island hot dog champ in 2008 (tying Kobayashi with 59 dogs in 10 minutes, then eating five more in a tiebreaker), in 2009 (68 dogs), in 2010 (54 dogs), in 2011 (62 dogs), in 2012 (68 dogs), 2013 (69 dogs, a new world record) and 2014 (61 dogs).
His eight-year run as champ finally ended in 2015, when he ate 60 dogs but was defeated by the 62 hot dogs of challenger Matt Stonie. But Chestnut roared back in 2016, eating a record 70 hot dogs for the Coney Island win, and then proceeded to win every the next seven years in a row as well, meaning he won 16 out of 17 years from 2007 through 2023. In 2021 he ate 76 hot dogs, a new event (and world) record.
IFOCE, in its biography of Joey Chestnut, calls him “the greatest eater in history” and “truly an American hero and a national treasure.”
Joey Chestnut proposed to his longtime girlfriennd, Neslie Ricasa, on the stage at Coney Island just before his 2014 win. She said yes, but the couple later broke up… The Nathan’s Famous hot dog competition was lowered from 12 minutes to 10 in 2008, leading to lower totals for dogs eaten… Takeru Kobayashi has not competed in the Nathan’s Famous contest since 2009, due to a contract dispute with the event; in 2010 he was arrested after trying to rush the stage after the competition, and in 2011 he appeared in a separate July 4th competition in New York City.