Takeru Kobayashi failed to break world fruitcake eating championship Friday at Gabriella's Restaurant in Manhattan. He came in six ounces shy of the 4-lb 14 ounce record.
The 30-year-old Kobayashi - who keeps washboard abs even as he shovels a refrigerator full of food down his mouth - can't fight nature forever. He's gained more than 30 pounds over the last six years.
Kobayashi has mired in a slump after holding the world hot-dog eating record for six years in a row since his 2001 debut at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest...
(From l.) Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut, Sonya Thomas and Pat Bertoletti put their mouths where the money is at the 2008 Nathan's contest.
Chestnut and Kobayashi aren't the only big mouths on the circuit: New Yorker Eric 'Badlands' Booker is a repeat title-holder of the Ben's Restaurant annual matzo ball eating contest.
Sonya Thomas, who weighs 99 pounds, is known worldwide as 'The Black Widow,' having consumed records in chicken-wing-eating competitions.
Mohawk sporting Pat Bertoletti won this blueberry pie eating contest in 2007, but hasn't been able to keep up with the big boys in the Nathan's contest.
L-R Competitive eaters Bob Shoudt, Joey Chestnut, Pat Bartoletti, Juliet Lee, Eric "Badlands" Booker, T plow through pizza pies in Times Square Sunday. Joey Chestnut, who won the Nathan's hot dog eating contest this summer, won with 45 slices.
'Crazy Legs' Conti dominates the annual cannoli-eating contest in Little Italy earlier this year (2008).
The 5th annual Tuttorosso Pasta Eating Competition in front ot Sal Anthony's in Little Italy goes against conventional table manners: contestants like Jesus Morales eat with their hands.