Do you have what it takes to be the first to conquer one of the most formidable eating challenges in the country – that requires you to consume around 6,000 calories in one sitting?
Food challenges. Many of us have watched them on our screens and debated how far we could push ourselves until reaching breaking point.
They are designed to be difficult, of course, but there is one in particular in Inverness that certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted – and anyone attempting it needs to have a big appetite, to say the least.
Known as Challenge 35, cocktail bar Scotch & Rye, on Queensgate, first introduced its monstrous eating challenge in 2017 until discontinuing it when the first nationwide lockdown was announced.
However, it was relaunched this summer and has proved “as popular as ever.”
While none of the competitors have succeeded, you might be just the person to conquer it.
Challenge 35 requires foodies to demolish a 24 oz (one-and-a-half pound) bacon and cheese burger, which features five beef patties, as well as lettuce and tomato.
But that’s not all.
Contenders also need to finish a bowl of loaded chilli fries, a side of kaleslaw (kale coleslaw), two buttered corn on the cobs and four chicken barbecue wings. This must be washed down with a 30 oz (850 ml) vanilla milkshake.
There is also a vegetarian version available.
Joe Martin, general manager at Scotch & Rye, said: “I’ve lost count of how many people have tried to tackle it. It takes a brave soul, so it’s not something that happens every week.
“About half of those who try, get close, and when it gets down to the wire it’s something the entire bar gets involved in, cheering and rooting for them to complete it.”
Joe went on to say that people from far and wide visit the venue to try their hand at the eating challenge.
“Some people want to give it a go on their birthday and on stag dos, while others think they’re the next “Man vs Food”,” he continued.
“It’s quite common for competitors to be sponsored and attempt it for charity and it’s ace to see people using this for good.”
The eating challenge gets its name from the time given to complete it – 35 minutes. Those that finish all the components within the time are given it the meal for free.
If you fail, a £35 charge must be paid.
“After seeing so many near misses, I’d be wary to give it a go,” Joe said.
“However, I think I’d probably think back to the best attempts and try and pull some tactics together.”
The cocktail bar announced the return of the challenge on social media, resulting in members of the public tagging and encouraging their peers to take it on.
“The buttered corn might cause a problem but I wouldn’t need 35 minutes,” one said, while another considered it “a light snack.”
The challenge has also caused controversy, with one person saying: “I love the food at Scotch & Rye but I think this is a bad idea.
“With prices going up and increasing use of food banks the amount of food that will be thrown away because people can’t complete the challenge is so wasteful.”
Hot wing challenge
The bar also offers a hot wing challenge where participants have to consume six three-knuckle chicken wings doused in its hot ‘Scotch & Die’ sauce in an unlimited time, before sitting for 10 minutes with nothing to drink but water, whisky or beer.
Joe said: “They can’t wipe their hands, touch their face or go to the bathroom until the 10 minutes is up. Once it is, they get their wings for free and a 30oz Bourbon milkshake.
“This challenge is more common and has about a 30% pass rate I’d say. It’s really good fun to watch as well.”
Winners receive a milkshake to cool them down and the chicken wings are on the house.
Scotch & Rye is open from noon to midnight Monday and Tuesday, 5pm to midnight Wednesday and Thursday, and noon to 1am Friday to Sunday.