(This is an article that was written for my Creating Packages module. It was written for a food magazine, that me and a group had created known as – Eat Me Drink Me UK)
Ben Luong is Britain’s answer to America’s Adam Richman. He is the unofficial King of Man Vs. Food U.K.
The self-proclaimed food challenge champion started his own blog, ‘Eating Challenges’ in February 2013, and since then has taken on numerous food challenges that he has either found himself or people have submitted to him on his website.
At 34 years old Luong, works as an independent marketing consultant and he also owns his own company, which helps people to websites and handles online advertising.
So what exactly inspired this man to start taking on food challenges?
“I’ve always been able to eat a lot. I saw a food challenge online called the ‘Devastator Challenge’. I basically had to eat a burger in 10 minutes. I thought to myself, I can do that. So when I was down in London for a work conference I gave it a try,” said Luong.
“I managed it in 9 minutes 38 seconds,” he beamed. “It was then that I decided to blog about my success. I noticed that the domain for eatingchallenges.co.uk was available, so for a laugh I wrote it up and posted it on the website.”
With his passion and dedication for food, Luong started looking for more food challenges. He then stumbled upon the eatfeats.com website which has a thorough database of food challenged across the US and the U.K.
Through his website he also gets emails from friends and the public submitting challenges they would like him to try out.
“Its surprising how many eating challenges aren’t well publicised at all.”
Like any competitor, Luong always prepares before he takes on food challenges by eating a large meal the night before and snacking on cucumbers until he feel full.
“Cucumbers are full of water so it passes through the body easily,” Luong said.
Last year in April, Luong faced his biggest challenge to date, when he tackled a 24oz burger at the Dam House, Sheffield.
The 24oz burger also consisted of crispy bacon, melted cheese, mushroom, onion rings as well as a basket of chips and salad as sides.
Luong has 30 minutes to finish the meal and would receive a certificate and 25% discount off the meal.
Luong said: “The side salad was brutal. You would expect that to be easy but its very dense so takes up a lot of space,” but with one minute to go Luong managed to finish it at 29 minutes.
A 40oz steak challenge at the Pride of Paddington in London was Luong’s hardest conquest. At £40 for the meal he had 20 minutes to finish the steak as well as the additional sides, which consisted of chips, mushrooms, onion rings, peas and tomatoes in order to receive the meal complimentary.
“I gave up after 15 minutes because I had no chance of finishing it at all, never mind in 20 minutes,” says Luong.
One food factor that Luong tends to stray away from are spicy food challenges, “For me they are just pure pain. It is painful getting the food down from your mouth to the stomach and then the aftermath is even more painful.”
“I once ate a Naga Viper Chilli, it horrible. I had to drink a litre of milk straight after.”
Sadly, it is very rare for Luong to have a friend accompany him with his challenges, as he prefers to do it solo. It’s a double-edged sword having someone with you while you’re eating. Yes, you have a friend to spur you on, but it is pretty anti-social just stuffing your face with food for 30 minutes.”
“And after the challenge, I just want to go home and rest too.” He continues.
Luong’s inspiration for food challenges comes from professional eater and body builder – Randy Santel. “He eats the craziest of meals and still manages to stay in shape,” he says.
But just like Randy Santel, Luong himself needs to keep in shape with all the food challenges he takes on. He attends a local gym between three and four times a week and loves to go out running.
When asked if he considers himself as an inspiration for other food lovers, Luong laughed, shrugged it off and said: “I always thought I’d be an inspiration to someone but I didn’t think it was for my eating abilities.”
Do you have a food challenge you would love to see Ben Luong try and conquer? Tweet us @EatMeDrinkMeUK and be automatically entered in our Easter competition.