I took on the biggest burger challenge in Edinburgh

… and lived to tell the tale


When I was younger I always wanted to be successful, somebody important, someone who people looked up to. Since I’ve come to uni I’ve realised that I’ve got about the same chance of that happening as Roy giving me the Euro call up. I knew my grades weren’t going carry me to that insane level of success and with exams around the corner I was getting worried that I was going to be the child that whenever my mum got asked how I was doing, she’d reply with,  “Um… well… he’s fine”. So with academics out the window I searched for something else which would make my mum only a little less certain about my crippling mediocrity. Of course, there was really only one option, the one option that the only requirements be having an open mind and an open mouth that doesn’t include prostitution.

I’m talking of course about the noble art of professional eating.

Professional eating is not only one sport that I could be good at but also the only one that shows how men will literally compete over anything (there’s a reason we die younger). So with my mind set on it, there was only one challenge that made sense compete in:

The City Cafe Ultimate Burger Challenge, Edinburgh’s largest burger

Weighing in at 7lbs, this burger consisted of:

  • 3 Hamburgers
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Bean Burgers
  • 2 Types of Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Tomato, Lettuce and Gherkins
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapple
  • Guacamole
  • Plus: CHIPS AND COLESLAW

Time Limit: 45 minutes

…simple right?

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However on the day of the challenge I was feeling confident. I had been training for this my whole life, every burger from the greasy 3am mistake to the fine and fancy had lead up to this. With the Rocky music stuck in my head, a couple of the Tab team and a completely empty stomach, I was as ready as I could ever be.

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So many losers they didn’t even both to take their photos.

As soon as I got in there, I started to doubt myself, every staff member we talked to had never seen a single person complete it, I was told by one that they get on average 3 challengers a week and have been running for 3 years, and yet have only had 6 people ever complete it. With the help of a calculator (what a time to be alive the modern world is), I found that averages at around a 3% success rate, considering that’s about the same success rate as my pulling game, I’ll take what I can get – at least I knew it was possible.

As they brought the burger over to my table, I started to doubt myself even more, this thing was far bigger than I had imagined, looking like it was about twice the size of my stomach, i wondered how it was all going to fit in.

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The moment I realised what I had undertaken

They started the clock and i knew my only hope was to trick my stomach by eating as quickly as possible, and the first few minutes were actually bloody enjoyable, the burger was excellent and I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours – what better way to spend my Saturday evening? I tore through it, eating about a third of it in about 10 minutes, I was well on track to finishing it, even ahead of time.

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The manager had given a couple of tips before the burger came out, the main one being that people always forget about the chips and coleslaw until it’s too late. No one likes cold, soggy chips – especially when they’ve just eaten 7lbs of assorted meats and cheese. I’d worked out my strategy though and started to mush the chips and coleslaw into the burger as I kept chomping. I’m really bloody good at this, I thought to myself, I’m like Messi… but with my mouth. What’s more I still had 20 minutes to go. I could do this!

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I quickly realised however that time was not the issue, my stomach started to fill up and the mess I had created on my plate started to look less and less appealing. It wasn’t the meat that was the problem. No, it was the mozzarella and pineapple. Who even puts mozzarella and pineapple in a burger anyway? Probably sadomasochists. 

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“I fucking hate mozzarella”

Determined not to fail, I soldiered on with the my mum’s disappointed face still imprinted in the back of my mind. Not even that, however could save me from every professional eater’s nightmare – the wall. Sounding like a half arsed Seth Rogen remake of Game of Thrones, I had only heard about this mystical place before, the unsurpassable feeling of being full – and now I was experiencing for real. After this I only managed small mouthfuls before feeling like I was going to explode – I could see that my professional eating career was coming to a close. Feeling like I was 9 months pregnant, my only hope of impressing my parents was the chance that I would actually explode and give birth to some deformed food alien that would enslave us all.

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Defeated, delirious and, frankly, a bit ill, I headed home with the consolation prize of a novelty t-shirt, the knowledge I wouldn’t need to eat for days and the assurance by a waiter that that was “one of the best attempts I’d seen in person”. Although I got the feeling that that was something they said so as not to completely crush you masculinity and pride, like what someone says to you after your big time performance as Donkey #2 at the school nativity play.

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Having said all that, the challenge was a really good laugh and I would encourage anyone that is a bigger man than I am to get down there and give it a go.