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Santel slays ‘Monster Challenge’ at Legends

T-R PHOTOS BY JOE FISHER — Professional competitive eater Randy Santel made his first visit to Marshalltown Wednesday as part of his midwest tour of food challenges. Santel took on Legends American Grill’s Monster Burger Challenge.

How does a 4 pound burger sound?

Pretty daunting, right?

For professional competitive eater Randy Santel, the Legends American Grill Monster Burger Challenge was 8 minutes, 58 seconds well spent.

Santel stopped at Legends on South Center Street as part of his tour of midwest eating challenges. He was in Altoona Tuesday to take on Brick and Ivy Rooftop’s Chicago Dog Challenge where he devoured eight fully loaded hot dogs.

On Wednesday, he turned his attention to something more fear inducing than a few dogs. He came to take on the Monster Burger Challenge.

Chad Tiller, chef at Legends American Grill, serves up a Monster Burger and Legends fries for professional competitive eater Randy Santel on Wednesday.

The Monster Burger is more than a burger, really. It’s two burger patties, ham, pepperoni, a pork tenderloin and in-house battered onion rings all topped with jalapeno cheese and onions. The final touch is creamy white queso cheese. On the side, Legends fries which are signature waffle fries.

Altogether, the meal weighs in at nearly 5 pounds.

Santel upped the ante with an optional personal challenge on top of it all. He tasked himself with finishing the food and two beers from Confluence Brewing Company, brewed in Des Moines.

To win the challenge, Santel had to finish it all in under 30 minutes. Fifty-two people have attempted the Monster Burger Challenge in its year of existence. Only seven finished it. The fastest time going into Wednesday was 30 minutes.

If Santel conquered the challenge it would be his 986th successful eating challenge. Once he dove into his plate of food it did not take long to know if he would pull it off.

Santel, nicknamed “Atlas,” had a clear game plan from the outset: divide and conquer. He picked the burger apart, eating it piece by piece with the occasional sip from his drink to wash it down. He commented on the pepperoni adding a nice flavor in the beginning but he predicted the pork tenderloin would be his favorite part. Moments later his prediction was confirmed.

Several members of the packed house shouted predictions of about 15 minutes for Santel to finish the challenge before it started. About 6 minutes into the challenge and some were guessing he would finish in 8.

The official time with the two beers was 8 minutes and 52 seconds.

“I must give credit. That was an amazing challenge,” Santel said. “There was not a part of that Monster Challenge I didn’t like. My favorite part — I was right from the beginning — that pork tenderloin. They really know how to cook pork tenderloin all around the state of Iowa.”

Chad Tiller, head chef at Legends, conceived the Monster Burger Challenge. He’s been a chef for about 20 years including 11 at Legends in Marshalltown.

“We knew we wanted to do a burger challenge,” Tiller said. “The Legends Burger, that’s one of our signature burgers. We’re known for our onion rings and tenderloins so it kind of fell together that way. Putting the queso on there — that really made the difference.”

Like others in attendance, Tiller expected Santel would finish the Monster Burger in about 15 minutes.

“That was insane,” he said.

The chef said he’s a fan of Santel and often watches his Youtube videos. After the challenge was started he decided to send Santel a message about coming to Legends and attempting it. To his surprise, he got a response.

“It was great to have him actually come,” he said.

Legends recently added a second eating challenge to its menu called the Viper Challenge. It’s a spicy wing challenge where brave eaters try to finish 12 wings, drenched in Tiller’s custom Viper sauce, in under 10 minutes. They get no dipping sauces, drinks or even napkins. Along with the wings they must eat a Viper quesadilla which has the hot sauce and more spicy ingredients inside. After finishing the wings and quesadilla they must sit for 10 minutes, still with no relief.

“Both things I did first,” Tiller said of the challenges. “We have to know it’s good so I punished myself before I punished anyone else.”

Twelve people have taken on the Viper Challenge and four have been successful.

After conquering the Monster Burger Challenge, Santel is on the road to Kansas City for another challenge Thursday.

RANDY SANTEL

To follow Randy Santel’s journey of food challenges visit randysantel.com or find his videos by searching his channel on Youtube.

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Contact Joe Fisher at jfisher@timesrepublican.com

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