UPDATED: 6:54 p.m. On the corner of Chapel and College streets, Etkin Tekin ’12 smashed Caseus Cheese Truck records and found himself propelled into the Elm City’s history books Friday. He is the first to have completed the Cheese Truck Challenge since its inception last year.
The challenge? Ten cheese sandwiches, toppings selected by the participant, one hour … you get the idea. Until today, many students believed it just couldn’t be done.
All that changed when our new gastronomic hero, wearing his pride in the shape of a Yale hoodie, was officially named the first victor today as, by 2:41 pm, he managed to eat the requisite sandwiches in 32 minutes, 4 seconds.
Caseus staff were visibly impressed by the rapidity and grace with which the Calhoun junior chowed down in almost half the time prescribed. Despite the huge amount of food he had to consume, this Yalie remained cool, calm and collected, making nary a whisper of complaint. Tekin even kept it classy — he didn’t chew with his mouth open!
“I am very impressed – the previous record was 7 1/4 sandwiches [in an hour], and he did it much faster than anyone else,” said Tom Sobicinski, one of the co-founders of the Cheese Truck concept who was on hand to congratulate the winner.
He also remarked on atmosphere of the afternoon, as about 25 students cheered excitedly for Tekin.
When the last chunk was swallowed (and kept down!), after gasping for air and a sip of Powerade, the cheese-eater extraordinaire told the News he was elated.
“I’m really full right now, but I was confident I could do it,” he said, and then joked: “This [moment in my life] probably ranks right after getting into Yale.”
Tekin added that he had completed eating competitions before and that this one had not been the most difficult.
News spread quickly across campus; at around 3:00pm in the Thain Family Cafe, students were already reacting to the news excitedly and showing numerous tweets about the contest to their friends.
But Tweets and conversation were just part of the fame-package: the terms of the challenge state that the winner doesn’t just get the bill waived — the giant-gulleted Yalie’s photograph will be posted for all eternity (or, at least, until people stop wanting their cheese from a truck) on the Cheese Truck’s menu-board next to the “Etkin Tekin” sandwich (cheese, bacon and guacamole, as above), continuing a long Yale tradition of sandwiches named after students.
While he may have won eating contests before, none can have landed Tekin this much lasting respect in Yale and New Haven.
No word yet whether the competition’s still open and whether the new goal will now be to beat Tetkin’s lightning time.