Jamie McDonald prepares to tackle a challenge at Oink and Moo in Fallbrook,…
BadHappy's chef and owner Tom Kern, 41, couldn't even remember the challenger's name when first asked.
"I don't know his name, I wrote it down," Kern said. "Something McDonald."
He was close. And it might soon be a name he'll never forget.
Jamie McDonald, a 36-year-old Connecticut native, will try to eat his way into Kern and BadHappy's memories by attempting to consume the entirety of the restaurant's menu at 6 p.m. Friday. BadHappy, 939 N. Orleans, has a standard Triple-Double Challenge of a triple 18-ounce burger, two poutines and a shake, but McDonald bypassed the rules and requested that he be allowed to eat it all.
"I guess crazy comes in all shapes and sizes," Kern said.
The new self-appointed challenge involves McDonald eating five poutines, two burgers, a side of both poutine and frites and two milkshakes. The entire spread yields about 7 or 8 pounds of food by Kern's estimate, almost 10 by McDonald's guess.
"It could be tough, because it's a lot of starch, a lot of fries and the buns from the burgers. The saltiness from the cheese curds, and the shakes are huge, so that's a lot of dairy on top of everything," McDonald said. "It will be rough, but I'm pretty sure I can do it."
McDonald only recently decided to try his mouth at professional eating, but he has not looked like a rookie, winning multiple contests in 2012 and sucking down everything from fried mushrooms to burritos to hamburgers.
"This last weekend, I was in a pizza-eating contest outside of Toronto. It was a 12-minute contest going up against Kobayashi. He's one of the best competitive eaters in the world, so I wanted to have a good showing," McDonald said. "But about eight minutes in, my jaw just hurt so bad, you know, good pizza takes a lot of chewing. I learned Sunday that I need to work on my jaw strength."
BadHappy challengers are usually announced when the restaurant blasts the "Rocky" theme or "Eye of the Tiger," and in the eatery's intimate space, the task can turn into a spectacle. Kern said that extra motivation is usually rendered futile by the limits of human ingestion after about 15 minutes, but McDonald recently downed Real Urban Barbecue's 7-pound Home Wrecker sandwich in 25 minutes.
"I found out that a lot of it is as much mental as it is physical," McDonald said. "You get to the point in some of these challenges where it really takes a while. You have to get past the wall they always talk about on 'Man vs. Food.'"
McDonald is in town to attempt Bacci Pizzeria's Pizza Pizza Fest jumbo pizza-slice contest Saturday, but decided to approach BadHappy when he heard about their challenge.
"I try to enjoy the food some, like BadHappy on Friday, I wanna enjoy that if it's good," McDonald said. "I like poutine."
McDonald said he's made around $14,000 in the six months he's been eating competitively and hopes to leave Bacci's with the $1,500 first-place prize. However, he said the hobby "can be expensive if you lose."
Kern said McDonald is not the first competitive eater to tackle BadHappy, but he's the first to attempt to eat the entire menu.
"People ask me, 'does that bother you?' with the professionals coming in," Kern said. "And I mean I just tell them 'no, that's what it's there for.'"
For people like Jamie McDonald to eat it all, and then some.
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