A few glasses of lemonade, an industrial strength knife, and a reputation as a competitive eater were on the table on Tuesday night as Stephanie “The Verifier” Wu took up the Kelsey’s 6-pound Steak Challenge. Broadcasting live to her followers on Facebook and Instagram, Wu was excited about the challenge that was soon to hit her plate. Competitors in this challenge must eat the steak, either a soup or salad, plus potatoes and a slice of bread in under an hour in order to win.
“I’ve been a competitive eater since 2010. I’ve always been a big eater and I was a fan of the 4th of July Hotdog Eating Competition, so it was always a dream of mine to get into this world,” said Wu of her experience in the sport.
The Steaks were on the grill by that point, though, and the time for idle chitchat would soon be over. Wu was setting up her cameras for live streaming and preparing mentally for the challenge, though she remained steadfast.
“I’m feeling confident. I’ve eaten an 80oz steak in the past, this is the largest though, but the better the meat the easier it is to eat and get through,” said Wu who revealed that she had just come back from a pizza eating contest in Lafayette the day before.
As for what her secrets are, Wu says it is important to know your body and learn the tricks to keep going. For example, Wu drinks non-carbonated beverages like lemonade to help her in the competition. Having an extra sharp knife is also key in making the eating that much faster.
As the steak hit the plate and the timer was set, Wu, who has yet to lose a professional eating competition of the 7 or 8 she has done across the country so far, dug in.
Amber Gould, sister of Brandon “Da Garbage Disposal” Clark, thought Wu’s chances were good.
“She’s gonna do well, I’m confident. Might not be as fast as Brandon, but she’s got this,” said Gould, referencing her brother- who has previously won the competition in a record-breaking 20 minutes and 40 seconds only a few weeks ago.
Peggy Hood, owner of Kelsey’s, was there to watch, along with several other staff members who came by throughout the night to see Wu’s progress and cheer her on.
“We inherited the competition from the previous owners and we wanted to continue the tradition of the 6lb Steak Challenge. With competitive eating getting popular, it’s seen a bit of a resurrection in recent years,” said Hood of the competition.
In fact, the competition was once featured on the Travel Channel as the football coaches of Portage, Valparaiso, Wheeler, Hobart and Chesterton all competed to win a coveted spot on the wall; though none succeeded.
Wu was determined not to fall into the dustbin of history with the many who have tried, but fallen short, and at 41 minutes into the competition, Wu triumphed.
Hood interrupted the dining to announce that, for the first time, a woman had completed the Kelsey’s 6-Pound Steak Challenge to much applause.
As for how Wu felt after that sizeable meal:
“Great Meal, Great steak,” said Wu quite simply as she held up her prized t-shirt.
Stephanie walked away with her pride as a competitive eater intact, a picture on the Wall of Fame, a t-shirt, a $100.00 Kelsey’s gift card and, of course, a free meal.