A Sodexo employee flips hamburgers on Fat Tuesday at the grill in Huden, but these are no ordinary burgers, and no regular spatula.
They were five pound burgers about the size of a party platter tray and he was flipping them with a pizza shovel.
But why such big burgers? Fat Tuesday brought a fat competition to Huden Dining Hall.
Between a five pound burger, and the toppings of lettuce, onions, cheese, three olives and a pickle, the total weight was about eight pounds, according to Jeff Kurto, General Manager of Sodexo at Castleton.
Kurto said the food preparation took between an hour and an hour and a half, and that between five seven-pound burgers and eight spaghetti and meatball bowls, the total weight of the food was about 70 pounds.
He said he thought of the idea as a way to involve Huden and the school community.
For the burger competition there were about 70 people just standing and eatching asEric Mimnaugh won the burger competition over Cyle Machia, Mike Perrore, Jon Wright and Josh Puckett.
It was a close competition, with Mimnaugh beating Puckett by about four ounces to win the $50 Visa prepaid card. The other contestants received Fireside points for trying.
“It was a rock,” said Puckett of the monster burger.
Wright agreed, and critiqued the preparation of his burger.
“It was overcooked on the bottom of the burger,” he said, with both adding that it tasted more like meatloaf than a hamburger.
There were jokes made by the competitors at each other’s expense and even a little showboating for the crowd.
“No pain, no gain,” said Puckett to the crowd followed later by his mock request “can I get another one of these?”
Within 10 minutes, each student’s face had gone from a look of amusement and excitement to a look of dread. They were red and their cheeks puffed out as they struggled to choke down the food.
People in the crowd were in awe at the eating display with comments like “oh my God,” and “holy shit” ringing out.
“It has to hurt to chew after that long,” said one bystander to another, to which her friend replied, “they’re boys.”
Senior Dave Carrier was trying to energize the crowd between clapping, yelling “eat the burger” and telling one student “Show me your war face!”
It got even better toward the end when Perrore called for the bucket, almost puking into it, which the crowd was cheering for.
When the burgers were done it was time for spaghetti and meatballs and Ben Carstens devoured the eight pounds worth placed in front of him in Huden.
Carstens was one of five students competing, joined by Jackson Boutin, Andy Hale, Brandon Root and Julie Carryer.
Carstens won, but he struggled mightily with the eight pounds of food, eating only two and a half of the one pound meatballs.
Round two of the competition wasn’t as well attended with only about half the crowd left.
All five looked very full within five minutes, with one student noting “I’m getting full just watching them.”
No one went after the meatballs, other than Carryer and Carstens.
“Once I got into the second meatball, it was kind of bland,” said Carstens who said he joined because he likes eating food. “I didn’t expect to win.”
Winning a competition like that might make someone think about being a professional eater, but not Carstens.
“Probably not, gotta watch my figure,” joked Carstens.
Kurto was very happy with the event and it appeared the school community was too.
“We’ll probably make it an annual thing,” said Kurto. “It was a lot more popular than I thought.”
Carstens said he is up for the challenge next time around.
“Gotta defend my title,” he said.
But not everyone was in love with the thought of eating so much food.
“It makes me feel gross,” said student Jacob Swane.