Sports

'The Devastator' eating his way to a unique professional career

Poulsbo’s Victor Dew takes a bite of a habanero pepper on July 13. Dew won $250 during a lutefisk-eating contest in Ballard on July 9. He plans to continue eating competitively and hopes to achieve two world records. - Tad Sooter
Poulsbo’s Victor Dew takes a bite of a habanero pepper on July 13. Dew won $250 during a lutefisk-eating contest in Ballard on July 9. He plans to continue eating competitively and hopes to achieve two world records.
— image credit: Tad Sooter

BALLARD — Victor “The Devastator” Dew boarded the Bainbridge Island/ Seattle ferry with one goal in mind: eating his way to $250.

On July 9 at the Ballard SeafoodFest lutefisk-eating contest, he did just that.

“I decided to take the last of my money that I had and go out there,” the 21-year-old Poulsbo resident said. “It was all or nothing.”

Dew took first place in the contest, defeating 2010 winner Sam Sacharoff. Sacharoff took second, winning $150. The contestants ate about two pounds of lutefisk each.

Lutefisk is made from a dried whitefish — traditionally cod — soaked in cold water and lye and then cooked.

This was not Dew’s first contest, but it was his first time eating lutefisk. He said the taste wasn’t bad and described it as “bland fish.” Add some hot sauce and he would enjoy it, he said.

This was Dew’s second contest where money was awarded. He has competed in about 15 food challenges. He said he has earned about $900 total in money and merchandise. Some of those challenges were featured on Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food,” such as the Hellfire hot wing challenge at Smoke Eaters in San Jose, Calif. and the Great Balls of Fire! habanero chile cheese fritter-eating challenge at Salvador Molly’s in Portland.

Originally planning to name himself the “Kamikaze Kid,” Dew earned the nickname “The Devastator” when competing in the Westside Pizza challenge in Poulsbo. In that challenge, competitors try and consume a large pizza with all the toppings in an hour or less.

Though nobody could remember exactly why he was nicknamed “The Devastator,” Westside Pizza employee Miller Spitler said Dew’s eating speed was most likely the reason.

“I could probably guess, because he ate really fast,” Spitler said. “He didn’t finish, but I’ve never seen someone eat that fast.

“It was crazy,” Spitler continued. “He stood up afterwards like a superhero.”

In order to compete, Dew trains by stretching his stomach by consuming as much food as he can the night before and then not eating until a contest. He learned his eating techniques from professional eaters such as Takeru Kobayashi of Japan.

In the near future, Dew plans to set a world record for eating habaneros — Erik “The Red” Denmark from Seattle currently has a record of 32 in one minute — and lutefisk eating. He also plans to return to Westside Pizza.

“I plan to go back and get vengeance on that pizza,” he said. “Probably next month.”

 

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