My phone exploded with the loud mechanical shriek of my Peanut Butter Jelly Time ringtone from Family Guy, shattering the peaceful idyll of my office while simultaneously inducing heart-attack-like symptoms in my left chest. "Gotta remember change that stupid ringtone," I muttered as I picked up the chair I'd fallen from in my panic." That and stop eating at The Burger's Priest."
Taking a deep breath, I composed myself enough to press RECEIVE, uttering a squeaky "Hello?" that I hoped the person on the other line didn't think was the voice of a drowning squirrel. The caller on the other end was a particular Luke Sheehan, actually one of our previous clients, from a company called Just-Eat.ca that ran take-out food services around Toronto. We had did a video for Just-Eat.ca this past year for a corporate function with their head office in the UK. It was a fun project and a great group to work with, so I was looking forward to some good news.
"Chun," Luke started, "we've got another project for you guys."
"Awesome possum, gimmie the deets, homefry," I replied, not exactly in that fashion, but you get the picture.
"You'll be working with a celebrity."
Coooooool, I thought. We've worked with kinda famous people before, but who'd turn down the opportunity to work with even more famous people? By the way, you can call us aaaaaaanytime you want, Mr. George Clooney ;)
Luke continued, "He holds several Guinness records..."
So one of thoooose celebrities. To be honest, I was somewhat hoping for one of those cool people with the super long fingernails or at least like a third eye or something. But nevertheless, I was intrigued.
"...Guinness records for...?" I asked, pushing my phone closer to my ear in excitement.
"...for... ...uh.... ...eating... ....like... ...LOTS of food."
I paused. There was an eerie silence for a few moments.
"Are... ...are you serious?"
"Yeah," Luke replied. "He's eaten 110 hot dogs in 10 minutes, 337 buffalo wings in 30 mins, and 93 hamburgers in 8 minutes."
Good God, what is this monster? I thought. My head was spinning with images of this immense spherical humanoid, drool slobbering from its gaping maw, its fingers the size of hot dog trucks, its teeth sticky with the sauce and melted cheese of unfinished pizzas. I could see it stomping through cities (probably somewhere in Japan, not that I'm racist or anything), rampaging and ravaging restaurants to quench its insatiable hunger. It'd stop amid crushed cars and discarded food trucks, letting out a guttural howl at the heavens, as if to cry to God himself to rain down more food for his indomitable stomach.
"Hello? Hel-hello? Chun?" a confused Luke said on the other end of the phone.
I snapped back to real life. "What? I mean, uuuhhh...wow, that's awesome Luke! So... uh... what's this guy's name?"
The next seven syllables would change my (and that of SWS's) world forever.
(See right there? Right there would've been a great place for a big gong noise)
Ok ok, back to reality.
Soooo to back track, we were offered this awesome opportunity to work with world eating champion Takeru Kobayashi for Just-Eat.ca's Campus Chompionship on October 29, 2013. It was an absolutely amazing experience capturing the thrills and chills of five campus challengers facing off in a pizza eating competition with the infamous Kobayashi, who by the way isn't the giant bulbous eating machine of my imagination, but rather a slim, lean, extremely friendly and polite Japanese man. He's the epitome of a eating magnificence, the master of showmanship, and the picture of a humble champion. It was our genuine pleasure to work with such a easy-going and cool guy.
Actually fun fact: Gordon Poon, our cinematographer, is an avid fan of Kobi's eating career. In fact, throughout our interview with Kobi prior to the event, one couldn't help noticing Gord's voice getting increasingly higher and higher pitched as our conversation with his idol went on. By the end of it, he was squeaking like a rickity house in a tornado. Yes, fanboyism is still alive and well in downtown Toronto, I'm afraid :P
All fanboyism aside, it was great to be working again with the super professional and super cool people at Just-Eat, the awesome campus contestants, Kobi's agent Maggie, and of course Kobi himself. We'll definitely remember this project as one of our favourites of 2013.
P.S. For those of you wondering, Kobi finished 32 slices of pizza in 3 minutes for the Campus Chompionship, with the runner up eating 18 slices in the same time. Congrats to The Clutch from University of Guelph for winning Just-Eat.ca's Campus Chompionship.
Photography courtesy of our friendor, Clifton Li