New super-wing-eater crowned in US

A kind of self-confirmation is a matter of choice. A Chicago culinary arts student has degraded two hot dog eating champs in eating chicken wings contest.

Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti skinned champion Joey Chestnut and staved off a comeback by Takeru Kobayashi to win the chicken wing "Chowdown" for Spike TV.

Wriggling his body and gnashing his teeth, the 22-year-old downed 4.1 pounds (1.86 kilograms) of chicken meat in eight minutes flat in front of a cheering crowd in downtown Las Vegas Tuesday to win the US$25,000 (EUR17,800) top prize.

Chestnut wolfed 4.05 pounds (1.84 kilograms) for second while Kobayashi came in third, inhaling 3.12 pounds (1.42 kilograms).

Bertoletti, who came into the event ranked 3rd by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, said he used his thumb to squish meat off the bone for speedy ingestion, using the "umbrella technique." He credited the Buffalo Wild Wings staff for preparing a tasty meal.

"They were warm enough and they were soft enough. They had the perfect amount of sauce on them," he said. "It was perfect."

Top-ranked Chestnut, 23, was in his first cheek-to-jowl matchup against No. 2 Kobayashi since wresting Nathan's Fourth of July hot-dog-eating crown from the Japanese eating machine three months ago. He said Tuesday's loss left a bad taste in his mouth.

"It's bittersweet," said Chestnut, of San Jose, California. "I beat Kobayashi, but I didn't win."

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