Who is the Eater of the Year?

As Endless Simmer nears the end of our first calendar year, we’re ready to look back at the time that was and honor the people who have inspired out palates and our keyboards. In that spirit, we present to you the First Annual Endless Simmer Eater of the Year Award. From the California hippies who told us to put down the foreign produce, to the wiener eating champ who made Americans believe again, these are the men and women who kept our mouths wide open all year long.

If we missed any important eaters, please let us know in the comments, and our awards committee will review them for inclusion. Of course, the final vote is up to you, so tell us who the Eater of the Year is.

The nominees:

Joey Chestnut


The 2000’s have not been kind to America. We’ve seen our troops bogged down overseas, our jobs sent to India, our basketball championships surrendered to Europe. But most damaging to our national pride was a seemingly impossible losing streak. For seven years in a row, America’s most prestigious eating trophy – The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island – was carried away by a man from the efficient, but undeniably skinny nation of Japan.

We don’t always promote binge eating here at Endless Simmer, but even the most left-wing, anti-W hippies have got to admit there’s something wrong when we’re losing a hot dog eating contest to the Japanese.

The shattered dreams of American eaters were resurrected this Independence Day, when Joseph Christian “Jaws” Chestnut, the pride of San Jose, California, swallowed 66 dogs to take the crown back from Kobayashi. And Joey ain’t no one trick pony, he also ruled the day at Philly’s Wing Bowl and has set world eating records in burgers, ribs, waffles, and for good measure, even asparagus.

The Locavore Four


A year ago, we could bite into a mango, an avocado, or a plate of Russian caviar without ever thinking “what is this doing to my carbon footprint?” Not anymore.

This quartet of Bay Area hippies challenged us to limit our intake to foods produced within a 100 mile radius, even coining a crazy new word – locavore – that took top honors as the Oxford word of the year (we hear the cougar set is pissed they didn’t win). And while we may not be able to implement their guidelines fully (who can go all day without eating brie?), they sure did make us consider it.

Anthony Bourdain


His constant media presence may put him just this side of irrepressible, but the always-cantankerous chef carved out a new niche for himself in 2007 as the unofficial policeman of the foodie world. Whenever there was a food trend to be scoffed at, a cocky chef to be insulted, a Rachel Ray to be ridiculed, Bourdain was there.

In an age of constant praise for mediocrity, this is one brutal cheflebrity who tells it like it is. He even wins the Dick Cheney award for straight-faced exaggeration for calling anti-foie gras activists “the worst kind of terrorists.” And what other TV chef would have the balls to do this? Bourdain – what would we do without him?

Padma Lakshmi


Rarely has someone so deftly turned D-list celebrity into full fledged stardom merely by putting expensive things in her mouth week after week. Top Chef became a cultural phenomenon this year (OK, a basic cable phenomenon) and millions of viewers inadvertently learned the meaning of words like amuse bouche and panna cotta, in between glimpses of Lakshmi munching away in ecstasy. While we periodically got distracted by her messy divorce, cookbook tour, and constant pleas to be taken seriously, all we really want to do is watch her eat.

Also, writing “Padma Lakshmi” multiple times in your blog posts really boosts search engine optimization from India to Indiana.

p.s.: Padma Lakshmi

p.p.s.: Padma Lakshmi

p.p.p.s.: Padma Lakshmi nude

Chocolate Jesus


Who’s made out of 200 pounds of delicious milk chocolate and makes Catholic League President Bill Donohue pee his bed at night? Why, it’s Chocolate Jesus, that’s who! While legions of Christians around the world debate the true wisdom of the Holy Son, artist Cosimo Cavallaro helped us see the truth – his roots lay deep in milk, sugar and cocoa.

Al Gore


*Federal Compliance*

Congress passed a little-noticed law in December 2006 that mandated Al Gore must be nominated for every award given out in the year 2007.

[poll id=”5″]

Photos: USA Today, Men.Style.Com, Herald Sun

You may also like


  • gansie December 10, 2007  

    one small correction – can we change the word “policeman” to “police officer” in the bourdain write up? gender neutral terms create possibilities for all gender identities.

  • belmontmedina December 10, 2007  

    Reading Kitchen Confidential made me see the real glamour in being a coked out line cook.

  • h diddy December 10, 2007  

    woah woah woah, i think someone is forgetting a certian mr. 80 proof and the 100 wings on his birthday? am i the only one who remembers?

  • 80 Proof December 10, 2007  

    Unfortunately, I think that night would have nominated me for Drinker of the Year, not Eater.

  • andrew December 10, 2007  

    Joey ChestnuTT – he beat Kobayashi and did that song with The Roots

  • Pingback: So Good Blog/News Round-Up 12/10 | So Good December 10, 2007  
  • Jon Eick December 10, 2007  

    Where’s the love for my boy Pat Bertoletti? After beating Chestnut a bunch of times this fall he’s going to be named the new #1 eater in the next week or two.

  • Jon Eick December 10, 2007  

    Uh…am I the only one that immediately hit “right-click, save as” on that Padma photo?

  • Jiggle Billy December 11, 2007  

    Anthony Bourdain isn’t over yet? I thought he’d gone the way of Eminem already. Being professionally irritating is difficult to sustain when it’s so, well, irritating.

  • EdHill December 11, 2007  

    SO is that picture of Bourdain (the non hamhock one) from like 1974 or something? I like my bourdain like I like my jerky. tough and weathered.

    If the hippies win the award, will they try and smoke it? (I kid, I kid…)

  • Bud Foster December 11, 2007  

    My good palsie Don Zinn ate an entire stick of butter and washed it down with a glass of cooking oil. He gets my vote for eater of the year.

  • Bud Foster December 11, 2007  

    This whole eater of the year poll is a scam. It doesn’t even include John Cole who ate 30 cans of corn beef hash or Eric Klinker who at 10 boxes of Entemans donut holes. Booo.

  • Diana December 11, 2007  

    Finally, others who understand my Padma contempt.

  • The Cheeseman December 12, 2007  

    I too have heard of the legendary exploits of Don Zinn. Hailing from Disko Island, where he developed his lifelong love of grease, he now rules over the fat of the land in the South. He will be a force to be reckoned with in next years contest…

  • Bud Foster December 12, 2007  

    You ain’t kidding Cheeseman. I hear he trains by eating nothing but McD’s for weeks on end. His eating prowess is the stuff of legend. I’ve actually witnessed McD’s stock fluctuate downward when he goes on a diet. He is also a prolific smoker but I’ll save that commentary for the “Smoker of the Year” blog.

  • VinnieToretta December 12, 2007  

    Who is this Zinn guy? Sounds like an amature. I once knew a guy who would deep fat fry McRibs in a turkey fryer for Thanksgiving. He also would batter them sometimes first. That folks, is dedication to habit.

  • Bud Foster December 12, 2007  

    Wow. Fried McRib sounds delicious. Don Zinn is no amateur though sir and I take offense at the accusation. Would an amateur randomly deep fry a turkey in his office? Would an ameteur make a meat cake for his sons first birthday. I think not. Don Zinn is a professional and he deserves your respect.

  • erica December 12, 2007  

    obviously this contest would benefit from the gluttoness’ participation. next year i’ll for sure make the cut.

  • The Cheeseman December 12, 2007  

    well how does 40 McD’s Bacon Double Cheeseburgers in 30 days sound? How about following that up with 30 McRibs in 30 days? Don Zinn can lay claim to both. He also used to bring home deep fried morsels such as chicken tenders and fries from the grill he worked at, and then re-deep-fat-fry them for his roommates, every night…

  • Bud Foster December 13, 2007  

    excellent recall Cheeseman. I had forgotten about those feats of intestinal fortitude. here’s another… how about living on nothing but pizza, dorritos, and coke for an entire college semester? yep…. you guessed it. Don Zinn did it.

    Can anyone else claim to have been denied a job at Taco Bell because when the interviewer asked why he wanted to work there he simply responed “because I like tacos”? I think not.

    Don Zinn is a legend in his on time. A true visionary of culinary delights.

  • Britannia December 14, 2007  

    Padma… Its pretty clear why. She’s stunning. I’d eat her any day of the week, and for those of you who know me that would be one unusual sight!

  • Bud Foster December 14, 2007  

    If that ever happens Don Zinn would like to be there to take pictures. Aside from his eating talents he is very skilled with a camera.

  • VinnieToretta December 16, 2007  

    well, he has no creativity then – just your basic redneck slob from the sounds of it

  • Victor Nacho Harris December 17, 2007  

    Don Zinn has plenty of creativity. He invented the bazooka (an entire pack of cigarretes duck taped together and smoked at the same time) and the question mark. He is also an expert coder who invented the “Don Zinn Virus” in 1998 which I might at is a virus which still infects earthlinks servers to this day. What did you ever invent Vinnie that makes you think you are betta? That’s what I thought. Don Zinn is second to no one in leisural pursuits so you better check yourself and recognize.

  • VinnieToretta December 27, 2007  

    What does any of that have to do with eating?…. and reread my comments, because I never claimed to be a great eater. Your response is misguided, and frankly, I don’t care for the tone.

  • Bud Foster January 2, 2008  

    You are just bitter because you were name after two washed up hasbeen quarterbacks. You need to lighten up before the bolesheviks nightstick you and take you to Disko Island. I went to the Italian embassy on New Years eve with Don Zinn. It was open bar and all you can eat. Don had at least 20 glasses of wine and made a mockery of the all you can eat buffet. They had to get an entire new plate of beef after he went through the first time. He is already the leading candidate for “Eater of the Year 2008” and the year only just started. What did you do for new years Gino? Don is living proof the American dream still exists.

  • Pie-ka March 14, 2008  

    dude, how did Joey Chestnut not win? he’s an American hero. He brought back the hot dog eating belt to America. I want to get his autograph, and if that fails, i hope one day to be the person refilling his plates of hotdogs.

  • Pingback: Who Will Be the Eater of the Year? December 1, 2008  
  • Pingback: Who is the Eater of the Year? December 10, 2008  
  • Pingback: Hezbollah Tofu is Your Eater of the Year December 29, 2008  

Leave a comment