BY MACKENZIE ISSLER
HOST: The Jewish holiday of Purim ended yesterday. To mark the playful holiday, the KJ Synagogue on the Upper East Side hosted a hamantaschen eating contest. Competitors had to devour as many of the slightly dry, fruit filled triangular pastries as they could in five minutes. Mackenzie Issler reports.
(Ambi under all narrations)
The first contestants started to arrive around 11:45 a.m. There were the amateurs, like real estate broker Robbie Wizenberg. It was his first eating contest and he had his worries.
WIZENBERG: I am mostly afraid of the big guy over there … if he runs out out of hamantaschen I hope he doesn’t start looking for mine. (
The big guy that Wizenberg was pointing out was Will “The Champ” Millender – the only professional eater at the competition. He wore a white t-shirt that said “Champ” on it and had a silver wrestling belt draped over his shoulders. He has eaten an array of foods in competitions. But, before Thursday, he had never tried hamantaschen, but he said they turned out okay.
MILLENDER: I was worried about like a chewy cookie or the middle but it seems like it will break down pretty easily and I will have a good eat.
Amateur eater Robbie Wizenberg loves the crumbly pastries, but he had another concern.
WIZENBERG:: And, I a am also afraid of throwing up on my shirt because I have to go back to work after this.
But, that’s exactly what exactly 9 year-old spectator Elan Agus said he was most excited to see.
ELAN: To see somebody throw up.
At noon, Todd “The Hungry Genius Greenwald”, the MC of the event asked for a countdown.
AMBI/GREENWALD: Five, four, three, two, one, Go! And they are off and they are eating …. Will “The Champ” Millender, at the center of the table, is setting the pace is setting the pace.
Seven of the eight men sat in front of two heaping plates of the kosher pastries. Will “The Champ Millender” stood, shoveling the pastries into his mouth, while he body bounced up and down. The audience was almost silent as they watched in awe, but the event’s MC, Todd “The Hungry Genius,” knew the other competitors needed some support from the audience.
AMBI/GREENWALD: Ladies and gentleman of the crowd, it is very silent, what I need you to need is to cheer for the eater that you want to win … the more noise you make, the faster these eaters will be eating the hamantaschen … cheering … rabbi, rabbi …. (:23) (fade another next narration)
The crowd favorite was Rabbi Elie Weinstout, who presides over the synagogue the hosted the event. As the final minute approached, the crowd really started to shower him with adoration.
AMBI/GREENWALD/CROWD: Rabbi Weinstout … 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 2, 1 …… cheers
Everyone swallowed their last bites and the cookie crumbs settled. To no one’s surprise, Will The Champ Millender took top honors, eating 25 pastries. Robbie Wizenberg came in first place among the amateurs, after he ate 14 pastries. Wizenberg won a free ticket to Israel frm El Al Israel Airlines, which hosted the event. Rabbi Weinstout came in second.
Wizenberg said there was one downside to his victory.
WIZENBERG: The taste of a hamantaschen which I love so much actually started to gross me out. But I had to power through it. I am actually going to a Purim thing later today and I am definitely not going to have any hamantaschen.
Wizenberg hopes he’ll be able to enjoy the pastry by next Purim.
Mackenzie Issler, Columbia Radio News.