The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition has become a tradition on the 4th of July and for the past four years the world’s No. 1 ranked eater, Joey Chestnut, has taken home the mustard belt. Chestnut became a household name after he beat Takeru Kobayashi and ended his run of six consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Championships. Now there is another eater who is hoping to do the same thing to Chestnut, former Pepperoni Roll Eating World Champion Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti.
The Chicago native is the world’s 2nd ranked eater and about one month ago he won the Pepperoni Roll Eating World Champion in Fairmont and ate a total of 30.5 pepperoni rolls in ten minutes. Now Bertoletti has his eyes set on winning the big one. The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
“It is the biggest event,” explained Bertoletti. “Everyone knows this event and you can’t really call yourself a competitive eater or a professional eater unless you’ve made it to the big table on the fourth of July.”
Right now Bertoletti is in Coney Island, New York preparing for the contest. Bertoletti admitted last year he didn’t have a great performance at Nathan’s and has been thinking about that all year.
“There are good years and bad years,” said the world’s 2nd ranked eater. “I think I’ve had three good years and two pretty bad years. On a good year you do the preparation, you feel good and you go in there with the right mindset and you can actually utilize the crowd energy.”
Last year, he finished third eating a total of 37 hot dogs in ten minutes. Tim “Eater X” Janus finished second with a total of 45 hot dogs and Chestnut won the contest with 54 hot dogs. Bertoletti says he and Janus are the only two eaters in the field that have a legitimate shot at beating Chestnut.
“He’s really strong mentally. He knows when he needs to show up for the big game and he always does,” said Bertoletti.
“I have to go to the edges of the US and Joey Chestnut– the No. 1 eater – he can really pick and choose and if he’s not getting the money or if he’s not getting what he wants he doesn’t need to go,” continued Bertoletti. “I tend to do a lot more events than he does.”
Bertoletti is very passionate about food and is a professional chef. That’s one of the many reasons he enjoys competing in the MLE (Major League Eating). This will be his sixth year taking part in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition and he says the toughest thing for him to do is resist all of the great food in the Big Apple.
“I can not let you know how hungry I am right now,” joked Bertoletti. “I’m in New York right now. The second biggest food city in the US, right behind Chicago, and I can’t eat anything.”
The current Pepperoni Roll Eating World Champion will have plenty of food to eat on the 4th of July and he’s hoping to accomplish his career goal of winning the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship. Bertoletti has 34 eating record and says he would swap each of them for the mustard belt.