What was your welcome-to-competitive-eating moment?
Two years ago, when I was 21, at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest. It was only my fourth contest, and nobody had heard of me. I ate 32 hot dogs and finished third in the world.
Your most embarrassing moment?
I was leading the Deep-Fried Asparagus contest in 2005. My mom was in the crowd, and all of a sudden she screamed out, "Come on, Joey! Do it for Mama!" in front of everyone. I have never been so close to coughing up food.
Most treasured possession?
The Mustard Yellow Belt that I just won at the Nathan's contest. I've been carrying it everywhere.
If I weren't eating hot dogs, I'd be ...
If I were the eating commissioner, I'd ...
make the prizes more lucrative. [Chestnut made $60,000 in cash and prizes in 2006.]
Chestnut, an engineering student at San Jose State, beat six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi at the $10,000 Nathan's contest, downing a record 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.
Chestnut was to compete in a Pizza Hut eating challenge.
PAUL MARTINKA/POLARIS (HOT DOGS)
PAUL MARTINKA/POLARIS (CHESTNUT)