Ten People, 40lbs of Greens

One Harvard student eats pound of spinach in 55 seconds

Unnamed photo
Chelsea Y. Zhang

Tyler D. Sipprelle ‘10 (“T. Sip”) gulps down handfuls of spinach at the fifth annual b.good “garlicky-greens” eating contest on Saturday.

Get your calculators out—it took just five minutes for 10 people to polish off over 40 pounds of sautéed spinach Saturday afternoon at b.good’s fifth annual Garlicky Green Eating Championship.

A crowd of close to 100 people—including 10 participants, family, friends and passers-by—braved the pouring rain and packed the street outside b.good’s Dunster Street locale to partake in and spectate upon the feats of engorgement.

This was the first year that the event was recognized by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, and three registered competitive eaters—one ranked in the top 25 in the nation—joined the fray.

Jon Olinto, one of the co-founders of b.good, said that registering the event as a recognized Major League Eating competition was not initially a part of his plan.

“I didn’t anticipate it to be so much work but it was worth it—it was awesome,” Olinto said.

Two Harvard students, Scott M. “Gordito” Elfenbein ’11 and Tyler D. “T-Sip” Sipprelle ’10, a former Crimson sports writer, showed up to represent the University.

“I ate a pound of spinach in 55 seconds yesterday so I’m feeling good,” said Elfenbein, a Pforzheimer House resident weighing in at 180 pounds. Elfenbein said he won Qdoba’s burrito-eating relay with three roommates last February.

Sipprelle, a 175-pound Economics concentrator from Lowell, said that while he did not follow a particular training regimen for this event, he eats a lot on a regular basis, regardless of whether he is preparing for a national eating competition.

“I woke up this morning and thought about if I wanted to have breakfast,” Sipprelle said. “I was hungry so I ate breakfast.”

Others contestants were feeling less confident.

“[I’m feeling] kind of mixed,” said Michael “Betsy’s Boy” Cobb, last year’s champion.

While he said he enjoyed the restaurant’s “exceptional and healthy” food—he got free burgers from b.good for a year for winning last year—Cobb, who weighs 155 pounds, also said that the three-and-one-quarter-pounds of spinach he had consumed to win had made him feel “pretty bad and numbingly full.”

But whatever the past feats of amateur competitors, when the competition started around 3 p.m. during a brief pause in the rain, it quickly became clear that two registered competitive eaters—Pete “Pretty Boy” Davikos, a nationally-ranked professional eater from Boston, and Mike J. Springer, a recent graduate of Boston College—would dwarf all challengers.

While the others were consuming their spinach a couple of sprigs at a time, Davikos was clearing a quarter of his plate, equivalent to a quarter pound of spinach, with every bite.

Davikos and Springer eventually placed first and second, after guzzling seven and six pounds of spinach, respectively.

Emily C. “Beaver Knievel” Beaver, the only female competitor, said that the alimentary experience was “not bad as she thought.”

Contestants managed to wash down their piles of greens with complementary burgers.

“I want a nice b.good cheeseburger,” said Devakos—“I was going to have one, too!” added Beaver.

Springer had a cheeseburger, and went back for seconds.

—Staff writer Hee Kwon Seo can be reached at hkseo@fas.harvard.edu.