Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A Los Angeles woman who choked down a record-breaking 53 exceptionally hot peppers in 20 minutes to win the annual Chile Habanero Eating Contest said she feels great and would do it all over again.

Breaking last year’s record by eight chiles, Teresa de Jesus Sandoval claimed the first-place trophy and a $500 restaurant gift certificate at the Father’s Day contest at the Mercado La Paloma marketplace in downtown Los Angeles.

“I couldn’t be happier today,” said Sandoval, 32, who was cheered on by her mom, husband and kids. “Eating the final one was the decision-maker, but I wanted to grab two more.”

In second place for the second year was Octavio Sebastian, also from Los Angeles, who managed to eat 25 of the orange firecrackers, according to contest spokeswoman Mariluz Gonzalez.

In addition to his trophy, Sebastian received a $300 gift certificate from Chichen Itza Restaurant, which has hosted the contest for five years running.

Adela Ballesteros, of Los Angeles, joined the competition at the last minute, eating 18 chiles. Along with her third-place trophy, she was awarded a $200 gift certificate from the restaurant.

Ten contestants vied for awards during the competition. Each was provided 45 chiles habaneros to start, along with milk, water and roasted pork tacos to help wash down the fiery peppers.

“I thought last year was something when we had a tie for first place with the winners eating 31 chiles each,” said Gilberto Cetina, chef-owner of Chichen Itza. “But this year’s champion stunned us all. This puts us only eight chiles behind the Guinness World Records for chile habanero eating.”

Chiles habaneros rate up to 325,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures the spicy heat of peppers and other hot foods. The Jalapeño pepper, by comparison, rates a mere 2,500 to 8,000 on the same scale.

City News Service

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