Competitive eater Eric “Silo” Dahl recently visited Utah to hit the slopes—and wolf down a giant pie at Tenney’s Pizza in Sandy. City Weekly talked with Dahl, who’s studying computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the day after his challenge.
What is “The Beast,” and how did you fare against it?
The Beast is a 26-inch, 6 1/3-pound pizza, and I went with pepperoni. It’s 48 ounces of dough, 15 ounces of sauce and 28 ounces of cheese, and then 7 or 8 ounces of pepperoni. You’ve got an hour to complete it, and if you do, the pizza’s free and you get $100. Otherwise, it’s $25. I finished in 11:19, and I was the first ever completed. It was really good pizza, but actually I was a little overzealous and burnt my mouth a little on the first few pieces. That was the only bad thing about it.
What do you eat when you’re not pounding huge pizzas?
I average two to three challenges a month. Some months I have one; other months I have four. I like to keep it under three so I can manage my nutrition, so I don’t end up at 300 pounds. I’m pretty big into nutrition—I get my veggies in; I get in my sources of protein. My favorite foods are probably pancakes and breakfast cereal: Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Fruit Loops. Generally, I try to eat healthy and manage my calories pretty strictly on the days before and after challenges, just so that over a week, it’s like I’m eating what the average person would eat.
What I started doing about a year ago is, about 75 percent of my days, I’ll eat just one meal a day. And since I’m 6 feet 3 inches, 215 pounds, and I’m pretty active—I lift four days a week and do some cardio—I require about 3,300 calories just to stay at my current weight. So I’ll have all those calories in one meal. To some people, that’s a challenge in itself. To me it’s not, but it’s almost like I’m training three out of every four days.
Have you ever puked after eating so much?
Nope, I’ve never thrown up after a contest or a challenge. The only thing that made my stomach upset was pumpkin pie, when I did a pumpkin-pie challenge out in Buffalo, N.Y.
How did you get your start as a competitive eater?
I was visiting some buddies at Madison before I went to the University of Madison, and I decided to do a food challenge out of the blue. It was a 5-pound cheesesteak that you had to finish in 10 minutes or less, and I finished it in 5:52, which was only like 8 of 300 ever completed, and third fastest all-time. It kind of went from there. I did a burger challenge in Duluth, Minn., a 5-pound burger-and-fry challenge, and got a burger named after me. And it just kind of took off.
How do you pick which challenges to take on?
I’m really trying to get bigger. I’m sure you’ve seen Man vs. Food with Adam Richman. I like to think of myself as that, except I can eat quite a bit more. I can go to these restaurants and take on these big 6-, 7-pound challenges and have a good chance of completing them. I always take advantage when I travel to see if there are any food challenges available. And then some restaurants contact me, and I contact some restaurants.
Have you ever come to Utah before?
This is my third time. I have two buddies who have a condo out in Sugar House, and so I’ve skied out here. I did one eating challenge in Ogden, called the ultimate king’s omelet, at the No Frills Diner. It was a 12-egg omelet filled with a bunch of stuff, plus two sides and a 20-ounce soda. I finished it in 3:22. The previous record was like nine minutes.