TEXARKANA, Texas —Professional eater Randy Santel came from St. Louis, Missouri, to Texarkana's Taco Tico Friday to take on the "All About The Taste" challenge.
This challenge, the first of its kind at this restaurant, featured seven dishes that Santel had to consume in an hour or less.
At 6 foot 5 inches, the former college defensive lineman took in the challenge, trading quips with the 42 fans and audience members who showed up to take in the spectacle.
"I've a total of 912 food challenge wins," said Santel. At Taco Tico, that number would increase to 913.
Several dishes were laid out before him, including a Texas Stack Enchilada, a Texas-style burrito, a plate of taco burgers, a deluxe sancho, super deluxe nachos and cinnamon sugar tortillas for dessert. Two different salsas were there for seasoning. Water and Diet Coke helped wash it all down.
Santel set his traveling companion and good luck charm before him, a teddy bear named Leonidas, set cameras and when the time came, into the food he went.
As he devoured each culinary creation, generally focusing on one at a time though occasionally taking a break from one and going to another, he offered colorful commentary to the amusement of his audience.
"Fresh flavors, the vegetables are very fresh, enough of them here to count as a saladthe beans will help with digestion protein and carbs, can't have too much of that and these cinnamon tortillas, clearly made with love," he said.
With his steady progress, it was all over in 32 minutes, 21 seconds.
He rose from his kneeling position, established a pose of dominance and commented that it would be a long drive coming up, but his family was putting together a Halloween party.
For his video feed, Santel thanked Taco Tico in Texarkana and remarked on their food challenge, a $50 dollar value.
Would this be available for customers coming after him, looking to beat his record?
Jerry Gill, who is co-owner with his wife, Kim, says they are considering whether to continue this challenge beyond Santel's epic adventure.
"Right now, we are trying to decide," he said. "But we also arranged for Randy to get a Taco Tico hoodie, rather than the T-Shirt most places give out with food challenges."
Claudia Teague of Atlanta, Texas, was there with her husband, Richard. Claudia Teague is a fan of Santel's and has been watching his exploits for the past few months, getting up to speed with this culinary adventurer. She had to come out and see it herself when she had a chance.
"I've seen him do some amazing things," she said. "One video, I saw him take on a six-pound cookie. He finished it in 59 minutes and six seconds. I thought he was going to lose and throw up, but he made it. It is great, a chance to see him do this live."