As I’m walking towards Foggies Bar in Elgin, I’m regretting a spontaneous decision I made three weeks ago — signing up for the Humble Burger food challenge.
This was last night. And even 18 hours later (whilst writing this), I’m still experiencing bloating, fatigue and heartburn. The Gaviscon has been out in full force, and the alarm had to be snoozed this morning.
Having visited Foggies a few times, I’d never seen the place so busy on a school night. But it was a big occasion.
The Humble Burger — run by Jen and Mike McEwan — has a food residency in the bar, so you can tuck into the business’ tasty dishes inside. This I’d recommend as they come in, er, manageable sizes.
First set of punters fought their burgers, and the burgers won — but what was the challenge?
When my boyfriend Josh and I made our way through the bar to the main arena — where competitors were tackling the challenge — there was cheering, gasps and terrified looks in people’s eyes.
The colossal burgers making their way out of the kitchen had everyone’s attention.
Barry George and David Brim, the first two competitors, hammed into their food at the two designated challenge booths. The event took place from 6pm to 8pm.
The food challenge was to eat the Humble Burger’s triple bypass burger in 20 minutes.
Think you could do it? Well, I’d say think again.
It included 30oz of burgers (10 smash patties), 10 rashers of bacon, American cheese and cheddar cheese, caramelised onions, jalapeños, pickles, chipotle, mustard, 10 onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and two brioche buns.
Oh, and 1kg of salt and chilli fries clarted in sriracha mayo.
If you succeed, you receive a £35 Humble Burger voucher, £100 cash, a T-shirt, and a spot on the business’ social media wall of fame.
Barry and David devoured most of their burgers, but the chips appeared to be a huge struggle. This theme continued.
Countdowns were announced throughout by the team members with stopwatches. And each 20 minutes felt like double that, if not triple.
I remember seeing Barry holding his stomach after standing up from the booth (as if it was screaming for help).
Like everyone else, the crowd gave them a big cheer when the 20-minute mark was announced.
A feast for the eyes and the stomach (up until the 50th bite)
Scot Hector was next up, and things were looking good early doors.
I should mention that as much as I’m focusing on how terrifyingly big the challenge was, the food looked incredible — as does all of the grub by Humble Burger, which I’m sure everyone who has had it in the past would agree with.
If it weren’t for those chips, this challenge would have been dominated by a few of the competitors without a doubt.
Three people approached me after seeing me sign my disclaimer form, which (essentially) said that I’m responsible for the aftermath of participating in the challenge, to ask if I was taking part.
“Where on earth are you going to put all that?” asked one woman, while another said “good luck” quickly followed by a look of worry.
It was at this point that reality started to kick in.
And the fact I’d been to see Busted at P&J Live the night before, so my stomach was already on the dodgy side, wasn’t helping my nerves.
I really didn’t think this through.
My experience attempting the Humble Burger food challenge — spoilers, it didn’t go as planned
I caught up with Jen the Humble Burger owner on a few occasions, and she was delighted with the turnout.
She handed me an apron, sat me down at one of the booths and asked if I wanted a fizzy drink along with my jug of water. A pint of Diet Coke was requested.
As well as the water, cutlery, two empty plates and napkins, there was also a ring light with a phone filming everyone’s attempts at the booths.
I dread to think about the amount of times I sighed and swore in my video, so let’s hope it isn’t listened back to…
The dish looked even bigger in person than it did on social media. Its peak was almost eye level with me sitting down, and I’ve never felt so intimidated.
Realising I had all my rings on, I quickly removed them knowing they’d end up covered in all sorts.
The burger was held together with a metal spike, which was attached to a wooden board.
Like most people throughout the night, I started off by removing several of the patties from the spike. It had to be done given that a lot of them were piping hot.
Even after the first patty, which was delicious, I was struggling. The onion rings offered a nice wee break between heading back to the meat, but once they were gone, I knew I’d only start to feel worse.
When patty number three was down, each bite felt like a small weight had fallen into my stomach. The drinks did help, so I was glad I asked for the Coke.
However, the meat sweats came on, so it was time for the chips. Thinking they would be more on the lighter side, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The sauce, although tasty, was heavy. I tried going for chips with no toppings but those were too dry to go down. It was a lose-lose scenario…
I was the only person to bow out and call it a day at 11 minutes. I was thankful I threw on a light layer of makeup before the event because I could feel the colour going from my face as time went by.
Hey, at least I gave it a go…
Here’s to a job well done as food challenge ALMOST gets defeated
Since I’d put in my shift, Josh and I stayed to watch the remaining five competitors.
The fifth contestant was Connor Dunn, and to say he did well would be a complete understatement.
The entire burger had been devoured in roughly 10 minutes, but the more time that went by, you could see that panic was kicking in.
We all had high hopes for him but once the words “two minutes left” were shouted out, it was game over. It was the chips that made the challenge seem impossible.
From what I saw, Connor was the closest to defeating the challenge.
Kirstyn Brown was giving it a go at the same time (in the other booth) and also put in a solid effort.
Everyone gave them a round of applause.
Final competitors get stuck in — plus possible future Humble Burger food challenge…
A table was shifted next to the two booths to make space for another competitor. There were three attempting the challenge at (roughly) the same time for this round — which I’d say was the most fun to watch.
Wayne Reid, Daniel Stuart and Luke James-Crook were prepped and ready to get stuck in.
Food was going down fast, and you could see the life shifting from a few of their faces.
Oh, and a bucket had to be taken out for Luke. I’m sure you can guess why, but nothing came of it thankfully. I say thankfully, Press and Journal photographer Jason Hedges was hoping for a different outcome…
None of them could get past the chips. As I said earlier, they were lethal.
Time ran out for each of them. The Humble Burger food challenge was undefeated. But you can rest assured knowing that everyone took their leftovers home with them.
Josh got supper that night and lunch the following day out of my attempt.
I tried to ask a few of the participants how they were feeling afterwards, but those who hadn’t already headed off were covering their mouths or stomachs waiting for the inevitable.
I don’t blame them. I also had to make a beeline for the toilet — it was either that or the bucket.
Before calling it a day, I had another chat with Jen. She says she and Mike would love to host another food challenge event in the future, and let’s just say that hot wings fans may be in for a treat.
Watch this space…