The Chickwich Challenge

The Chickwich Challenge has been called many things: legendary, the pinnacle of competitive eating and athleticism, disgusting.

Fifteen Minutes presents you with the 2012 Chickwich Challenge: 12 dining halls, 108 chicken patties, five teams, one race for eternal fame and glory. Join us as we follow the (throw)ups and (scarf)downs of Eric R. Brewster ’14, Matthew S. Chuchul ’13, Laura E. D’Asaro ’13, Richard K. Fegelman ’13, Philip M. Gillen ’13, Christine J. Hu ’13, Adam B. Kern ’13, Avery A. Leonard ’14, Andrew K. Murray ’13, and Tobi T. Tikolo ’14 as they lay their stomachs on the line in the name of all that is unidentifiable meat. The rules of the athletic contest, which started in the Cabot dining hall and ended at the Eliot servery, are straightforward: Each team must eat its way across campus, devouring two golden discs of processed delight in each dining hall along the way.

Without further ado, let the games begin.



For all the words that have been used to describe Chickwich Challenge, “a gentleman’s game” has never been among them. That is, until Philip Michael “The Chickwich” Gillen and Adam Burchfield “Leg Man” Kern stroll into the Cabot dining hall at promptly “noon-thirty” on competition day.

Gillen stands smartly in a navy suit and bright red bow tie, his leather shoes gleaming in the midday sun. He seems comfortable in his incongruous chickwiching attire, which stands in sharp contrast to his athletically-outfitted opponents. Kern, in similar dress, cradles a bottle of red wine.

“These suits are fully functional,” says Kern in a vaguely British accent as bystanders take notice of their odd dress. “All weather, all terrain, we’re ready.”


Brewster and Leonard’s motivation for participating in the Chickwich Challenge is unclear, though what is certain is that they do not intend to take this competition seriously.

While other competitors have shown up in running gear or coordinated outfits, Brewster is wearing a terry-cloth shirt, orange gym shorts, boat shoes, and—despite the midday sun—a head lamp. “If there’s a power outage,” he explains matter-of-factly.

In a red winter coat and heeled clogs, Leonard looks as if she could just as soon be walking to class as to an eating contest.

The two are members of the Harvard Generalist, a student group dedicated to artistic content that aims to bridge the gap between performer and audience, and—before the competition has even started—it’s clear that the pair are treating the Challenge as a stage for some type of performance art.

There’s no semblance of a strategy. “Can you carry me?” Brewster casually asks his cohort.

“Probably,” she responds, explaining that she feels up to the task since she spends a lot of time hauling around scrap metal for art pieces. She is probably being facetious here, but it’s tough to be sure.