Let’s face it — we can all be forgiven for self-medicating with junk food during the COVID-19 lockdown. Stress eating is very normal, and some experts even say stress eating is OK. I certainly find solace in comfort food, and for me, Popeyes fried chicken is probably the most comfortable food there is. But this story is about something very different. In fact, there’s one guy that eats Popeyes friend chicken with such ferocity, you might get a little uncomfortable watching him.
I am talking about competitive eater Matt Stonie, who, not too long ago, completed the Popeyes chicken challenge. Now, before we get into the details of this truly remarkable feat — or judge Matt or this particular fast food restaurant too harshly — just know that Popeyes is a favorite among many very well known chefs, including Danny Bowien, Dale Talde, Paul Qui, Hugh Acheson. David Chang, Wylie Dufresne and the late, great Anthony Bourdain, who said, “Late at night, I’ve been known to sneak in there with a hoodie on — and I always get nailed. People are like, ‘Dude, I’m going to put this on Instagram.’”
Stonie has a long list of eating accomplishments — he even won the famed Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, dethroning perennial champ, Joey Chestnut, one year. His YouTube channel boasts tens of millions of views and the challenges documented there are varied. Spicy noodles, wings and most recently, Fruit Loops.
But the Popeyes challenge is truly a site to see. In this video, Stonie manages to consume an entire 16 piece meal (he went with classic instead of spicy, which in my view, was a huge error). That means that in addition to the chicken, he ate a box of biscuits, and large servings of mac and cheese, red beans and rice, and coleslaw. In all, it adds up to more than 8,000 calories. He eats all of it in just under 25 minutes. Watch below, if you dare.
I’ll be honest with you, as much as I love Popeyes, I had trouble getting through the whole video. Particularly the moment in the middle where he just devours the mac and cheese. That said, I’ve been craving Popeyes ever since watching it. Not sure what that means about me.