La Costeña "Feel the Heat" Jalapeno Eating Championship

Date: 05/01/2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Winner: Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, La Costeña Jalapeños
Total Prizes: $6,250 total cash purse

Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti claimed victory for the fourth time at the fifth annual La Costeña “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Championship Challenge. Bertoletti, currently the second ranked competitive eater in world, ate 275 whole jalapeños in eight minutes. The fifth annual challenge was a highly anticipated rematch between the reigning champ and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the '09 La Costeña champion.

Stems were removed from the jalapeños this year for the first time in the history of the eight minute contest. Bertoletti benefitted from this update and ended up shattering his 2010 record of 225 jalapeños to his current 2011 record of 275 jalapeños. “My goal coming in today was just to dominate and beat the record. That’s what I came here to do,” said champion Bertoletti. “It was a great day. The jalapeños were fast. La Costeña always makes delicious jalapeños and that makes it easier.”

Thomas placed second by consuming 224 jalapeños, Eric “The Red” Denmark placed third by eating 121 jalapeños, and San Antonio local Alexander Hernandez ranked fourth, having eaten 113 jalapeños. “In this eight minute competition Pat Bertoletti ate 50 whole La Costeña jalapeños more this year than last year. 275—it was nothing short of phenomenal,” said George Shea, MLE chairman and emcee.

“During the past five years, La Costeña’s “Feel the Heat” Jalapeño Eating Championship Challenge has ignited one of the most dramatic rivalries in competitive eating and organized sport between Pat and Sonya. When they clash in this competition, they push themselves and each other to a higher level of performance,” said Shea. “Appropriately we witnessed that today at the fifth annual challenge.”

“By removing the stems we upped the ante in this contest and gave the eaters better chances to devour even more jalapeños,” said Jessica Gonzalez, brand manager for La Costeña. “What is even more impressive is that all of the eaters ate more than 1,300 jalapeños combined during this grueling competition.”

To continually recognize both the skill and perseverance required to be among the top four competitors in the challenge, La Costeña had increased the event’s prize offering for 2011 to a $6,250 cash purse. The champion was awarded $3,000, while the second- through fourth-place finishers were awarded $2,000, $750 and $500, respectively.

Prize Payouts
1st - Pat Bertoletti, 275 La Costeña Jalapenos in 8 minutes - $3,000
2nd - Sonya Thomas, 224 - $2,000
3rd - Erik Denmark, 121 - $750
4th - Alex Hernandez, 113 - $500


About La Costeña
La Costeña is a Mexican company with more than 85 years of experience manufacturing, distributing and marketing high quality canned foods. Its delicious variety of products, including peppers, salsas, beans, guacamole, mayonnaise, and tender cactus, among other favorites, preserve the flavor of traditional Mexican cuisine, making its products the preferred choice for millions of consumers worldwide. For additional product information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @LaCostenaTour and like our page at

Become a fan of the MLE Facebook Page.

For instant results to all Major League Eating Contests, follow @eatingcontest