This morning, when most of Toronto was having its coffee, “Furious” Pete Czerwinski, of Mississauga, attempted to eat fifteen pounds of poutine in one sitting, live on the Dean Blundell Show, on 102.1 The Edge. He did it, he said, to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis, from which his mother suffers. The stunt was sponsored by Smoke’s Poutinerie, the rapidly expanding poutine chain, which currently has nine locations in Ontario and one in Quebec. Smoke’s founder Ryan Smolkin, who was in the studio to preside over the day’s feat of gastrointestinal fortitude, told us he has big plans for the future of competitive poutine consumption.
“Now that we have locations in Ontario and Quebec,” said Smolkin, “we’ll have regional championships.” He envisions these regional contests culminating in a world championship showdown at BMO Field, similar to the one that took place there earlier this summer, where the winner ate thirteen pounds of poutine. Plans are still tentative.
Smolkin said of his expansion plans that he’s currently eying locations on Bloor Street, near Spadina Avenue, and that he hopes to open Smoke’s outlets nationwide in the near future. Asked if he could provide an estimate of the nutritional profile of the fifteen pounds of poutine that Czerwinski was about to consume, he wasn’t sure. “I can guarantee you there is fat and calories in it,” he said.
Czerwinski, a muscular guy (a bodybuilder, in fact—and also a recovered anorexic) whose last eating triumph involved polishing off a seventy-two-ounce steak in world record time on field during a CFL game, ate the first five pounds of poutine relatively quickly, while Dean Blundell and Todd Shapiro did their morning DJ thing. The spectacle wasn’t really made for radio, so there were webcams rolling. Czerwinski’s girlfriend stood by supportively, in a t-shirt that had the phrase “My boyfriend ate my homework” silkscreened on its back.
After downing nearly ten pounds using his bare hands (standard practice in any competitive poutine eating situation), Czerwinski began to slow down. He mumbled through a mouthful of potatoes and gravy that he didn’t think he’d be able to make it through the final five, and Blundell and Shapiro suggested that their designated studio lackey, whom they call Meatus, might enjoy eating some of the leftover spuds with no hands, and with his shirt off—which Meatus did, because acquiescing to fun suggestions like those is his job.
Afterward, Czerwinski said he felt fine. “Especially when I do this for a good cause, then I feel a lot better afterwards.”
Photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.