Top 10 Best Eaters in MTV Challenge History
[Insert clever intro with metaphors about how food unites people or something.]
Over 36 seasons, MTV has made use of eating competitions in daily challenges, eliminations, and most notably finals. In that 36 season timespan, some eaters rose to the top of the pack, and I will be highlighting them in this article. Also, a bonus, I just made a video where I ranked all 24 players to have come from the Are You The One? franchise if you prefer that:
Sarah Rice: Probably the toughest omission. She did well in eating challenges throughout her career. Was never dominant in any of them, though.
Leroy Garrett: He never wins eating challenges, and because of that, he misses out on the top. Leroy has participated in some of the most difficult challenges and never complained as his contemporaries did.
Nia Moore: Drank human sweat.
Evan Starkman: Strong eater for his era.
Camila Nakagawa: I do not remember her complaining about eating anything and took on some gnarly eating challenges.
Paulie Calafiore: Ate well in the Final Reckoning final and his milk and cookie elimination.
Ashley Mitchell: An under-the-radar eater since she competed in her two solo/paired finals with great eaters (Hunter/CT). She is willing to eat whatever. Not sure about large quantities, though.
Jordan Wiseley: Similar case to Leroy, always does well in eating challenges, just not an elite eater.
Cara Maria Sorbello: She likes to pride herself as an eater yet has complained about different foods/and is not the fastest eater.
Big Easy: I feel like people will be upset if he is not on the list. Big Easy drinking beers and partying hard at the Gauntlet 3 wrap party a couple of hours after passing out will never not be funny.
10 Shane Landrum
Shane had to compete in a Milk and Cookies eliminations while being lactose intolerant. The fact he lasted as long as he did is impressive enough. Shane was never a great natural eater; he simply understood that all you have to do is consume and puke (CT and Lindsey Jacobellis would perfect this eating style). What gets him on the list is team player attitude from Invasion, where he was drinking other players’ curry bowls since they either could not get them down or were not even attempting (looking at you, Jenna).
9 Devyn Simone
This list is filled with people who can eat large quantities of food in fast amounts of time. We have to include Devyn since she is one of the only people to look attractive while competing in an eating challenge. That has to count for something. Arguably, her teammates Sarah Rice and JD Ordonez are much better eaters and should get this spot. However, this isn’t the most serious article, and because of that, we include Devyn.
8 Tyler Duckworth
They built an entire arc around Tyler eating in the Cutthroat house. Even a scene with him making himself a gigantic breakfast quesadilla. Bananas keeps making fun of his weight, and then the elimination ends up being the CT Heavy Hitter twist in which he backpacks Bananas and then has trouble with Tyler. After the elimination, CT tells Tyler, “Good job Tyler, you definitely put on some weight, dude.”
In the Rivals 1 final, a hungry Tyler recovering from food poisoning absolutely murders the final for their team’s eating portion. Tyler’s overall performance in that final is super underrated; it was Bananas (the guy without food poisoning) struggling in their duo.
7 Vince Gliatta
Johnny Bananas cousin Vince was good at one thing on the Challenge: eating. During the Rivals 3 final, players were forced to eat gross food, and when Vince finished all his plates, his face looked like he wanted more. His cousin Johnny has a gigantic head; Vince’s face is twice the size; thus, it is no surprise the man could put down so much food.
He also was a runner-up in the bug-eating challenge on Battle of the Bloodlines.
6 Ibis Nieves
One of the OG Challenge eaters of worlds. On Gauntlet 2, Kina’s choice to face Jillian in the final elimination of the season was questionable. Many thought Ibis was the weaker player and could drag them down in the final. Come the final, and there is an eating portion where the Veteran team decides to put all their eggs in one basket and put their five best players in the eating portion against four Rookies. In a 12 lb roti eating competition, Ibis houses some Roti down for her team and ends up being the MVP in the Rookies Gauntlet 2 Victory. Putting the money where her mouth is. Ibis also put up a spectacular butter-eating performance on Battle of the Sexes 2.
5 Tony Raines
The real turning point in Tony’s Challenge career was an eating challenge where he dug deep and took down a block of rotten cheese, ten jumbo marshmallows, and a bowl of mayonnaise. Until then, Tony had been one of the worst players in Challenge history, all bark with no bite (and possibly flea-infested). With something to prove, winning this daily challenge set Tony on a path to what would be his best season ever by a wide margin.
On Champs vs. Stars 3, he was able to pull off the win alongside CT due to their combined eating prowess. If you date back to Tony’s second daily challenge performance on Bloodlines, he performed highly in the bug-eating contest. There was also his rotten milk and cookies elimination with Paulie on Final Reckoning that looked abysmal.
4 Jamie Banks
His second daily challenge ever had him trying to eat as many bugs as possible, and in the process of doing so, he defeated two other men on the list: Tony Raines and Vince Gliatta. Jamie’s eating in the final of Bloodlines allowed them to create a basically insurmountable lead where he not only finished his serving but put down a plate or two of Cara’s food as well. The man went 2 for 2 in eating challenges.
3 Hunter Barfield
The only daily challenge that he and Ashley won on Final Reckoning was an eating challenge where he defeated another top eater in Tony Raines. Their win on Final Reckoning is due in decent part to his eating ability as well. On Dirty 30, he made it back into the game by winning a Redemption in which he had to eat a Water Rat (whatever the fuck that means, it looked gross). His special skill is that he can not only eat a lot of food, but he can also do it really quickly.
2 Paula Meronek
Paula completely swung the momentum of two different finals with her eating prowess. During the Rivals 1 final, after trailing for a majority, Cara and Laurel took the lead against Paula and Evelyn. Then the eating portion comes; Paula turns the tides back in their favor which gave them the 2 minute lead on Day 2 of the final, which was crucial to their victory. On Rivals 2, Paula and Emily were trailing Cara and Cooke by at least fifteen to twenty minutes going to the Bizarre Buffet eating portion where players had to eat bugs, guts, durian, and chunky fish juice. Paula HOUSED all the food. She was swallowing fistfuls of bugs and chugging down fish juice as if she was shot-gunning a beer.
1 Chris Tamburello
CT has dominated the eating challenges for almost two decades now. His first real achievement was his milk and cookie elimination win against Shane. He followed it up with an eating daily challenge on Duel 1 where the goal was to gain as much weight as possible in a short time period, in which CT was the only one to know that drinking liquids was the quickest way to put on immediate weight (he would sneakily drink bowls of soup in between the fries and burgers).
His eating performances in finals have always given him or his pair the edge. During the Exes 1 final, he took on an extra load due to Diem being a vegetarian, and even then, they easily were the best team in the eating portion. On Rivals 2, CT ate most of the food for him and Wes, even if it meant he would puke out more food than he ate. With a bad back, he and Tony took over against Wes/Boobie and Louise/Casper during the Champs vs. Stars 3 final. They even had fun taking the food down. The man loves to eat. My favorite CT detail over the years is that he has a venti or trenta iced latte from Starbucks in all the backstage reunion scenes or interviews.