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Competitive Eating Contest Comes to La Jolla

Takeru Kobayashi is perhaps the most famous competitive eater in the world. The skinny Japanese wunderkind once ate 58 Johnsonville bratwursts in 10 minutes, and for years, dominated the highly-publicized Coney Island hot dog-eating contest.

Greg "The Floss"

Moss downed 30

flautas in 4 minutes.

Courtesy photo

Could Kobayashi—and peers like Joey Chestnut and Bob Shoudt—be headed to San Diego? It’s possible. On December 6, Jose’s in La Jolla will host the first-ever World Flauta Eating Championship. The event is sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). The five top finishers will split a $4,500 prize pool.

For the uninitiated, a flauta is 1.5 ounces of shredded chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep-fried to a crispy golden brown. And the IFOCE, according to their Web site: "supervises and regulates eating contests in their various forms throughout the world...while also seeking to...creating an environment in which fans may enjoy the display of competitive eating skill."

That's kosher with managementat Jose's. “Our motto is ‘fun, friends and Mexican food,’” says managing partner Bill McHugh. “We picked the flauta because you can eat them fast—this couldn’t be done with a crunchy taco.”

It’s guaranteed that a record will be set on December 6—since this will be the first time contestants will officially attempt to stomach as many flautas as possible in eight minutes.

Kobayashi and other pros are welcome to enter the final; local amateurs have had to participate in qualifying rounds. The next qualifier is November 7 and the last before the big event is November 21.

McHugh says the qualifiers have filled the bar/restaurant. “People bring their cheering sections, and some wave signs,” he says. And yes, he says a couple contestants have entered the arena talking smack, only to wind up disqualified by reason of regurgitation.

The qualifiers last four minutes. McHugh says one contestant, who ate incredibly slowly, later told him he’d only entered to get a free meal. But the leading local contender is Greg “The Floss” Moss, who downed 30 flautas in four minutes. His nickname is derived from Moss’ tendency to floss his teeth after the contest.

McHugh describes The Floss as six-feet-tall, 155 pounds and 21 years old. “It’s funny—I give every contestant a t-shirt, and everybody gets an extra-large. On Moss, it hangs on him like a drape.”

The World Flauta Eating Championship event is partnered with the It’s All About The Kids Foundation. New, unwrapped toys and monetary donations will be collected prior to and during the chow down.

Other IFOCE sanctioned munchings that have filled the 2009 calendar include the Billy Sims BBQ Rib Eating and the Upper Crust World Pizza Eating championships. And about three weeks before the La Jolla flauta fest, there’s a Roy Rogers World Roast Beef Slider throw-down in Frederick, Maryland.