Spoiler alert, this pizza was delicious. I just had to say that… Those were my first thoughts having it, so it only felt fair.
So, I’ve known about this challenge at NY Fold for quite some time. For a long time it was undefeated and I had my eye to change that. However, someone beat me to it, so it kind of dropped lower down on my list. Which is a shame, since having done this, I think it’s a fantastic challenge. I guess I just need to be in the mood for pizza.
The challenge consists of a 20 inch pizza, with toppings of your choice, which is nice, since you can adjust it to your tastes. You have 30 minutes to eat it all. If you do, you get the meal for free, a sweet T-shirt, and get to go on their wall of fame. If you lose, you pay the price for the pizza you ordered.
Now, I had not done challenges in a while at this time, taking time off challenges due to a busy work schedule. So coming into this my intention was to use it as a warm up, to re-build some capacity, and enjoy the challenge. As such, part of me thought, hey, just get a really stacked pizza with all the toppings you want, it will be delicious, and everything will be fine. Delicious it was, everything being fine? Kind of. At least that is what I thought until it came out:
My thought at that point was… Cheesus Christ… this is the most stacked pizza I’ve seen.
Approach wise, I wanted to reverse fold it, with cheese and toppings on the outside. Buuut….the pizza had other plans. It was so stacked that I could barely hold the slice without layers of toppings sliding off. Not complaining, just meant I needed to adjust my tactics. So I just folded each slice like a sandwich, and ate until the crust, saving that for later. I had intended to finish those with any of the toppings that fell off onto my plate to help mix up the flavours. Other than that, not really much technique to it really. I kept the water consumption lower at the start, only really using it to cool off the heat of the pizza. Hot cheese goes down easily, so you won’t really need much water. The downside though, is that I worked up a sweat, since the heat of the pizza begun permeating through my body. My body felt like a pizza furnace.
It is up to you, go for speed with hot/warm cheese, or let it cool and have a harder time getting it down since we all know how pizza solidifies when the cheese cools down. Flavour fatigue wasn’t really an issue until the last quarter, at which point I think I consumed more cheese than any human should in one sitting. If you want to go for speed and a win, take as basic pizza as you can. If you want to enjoy, go for whatever you want, just take your capabilities into account, as more toppings is more volume.
My pace was good for the most part, getting though the first three quarters at maybe just under a slice a minute (excluding crusts). However the last quarter I really slowed down as the cheese cooled off and my capacity was slightly uneasy since I went in unprepared. Not horrible, but I definitely had some air trapped in my stomach that felt uneasy. The crusts though, were the hardest bit. By this point they had cooled off, and were quite dense. My jaw was starting to fatigue, so my use of water went up. I still used the dropped toppings to mix up the flavours and help fight off some flavour fatigue, but in hindsight, I think I should have probably folded the crusts into each slice of pizza to help the toppings soften them and make them overall easier and more enjoyable to get down. My overall time wasn’t great at just under 24 minutes, but considering I was a bit silly going for such a pizza, it was nice to get a win and to build some capacity. Other than digesting an inhuman amount of cheese and salt, I felt good afterwards. Even just standing up helped expand some space in me. I don’t think there is anything against doing it standing, so by all means, you do you. I didn’t want to grab too much attention, slowly munching away in the corner, since eating a 20 inch pizza alone gets you enough looks.
Everyone was so friendly and I even got a good round of applause all round from everyone attending that evening. I’m partially hoping my pizza furnace sweats covered up my blush, but I’m not sure which was more embarrassing. For those of you who can eat and are hungry for pizza, I highly recommend this challenge. The choice of toppings is a nice touch, make it your own. My friend Mihaly went and did it in a ridiculous time of 6 minutes something, so it’s definitely possible to breeze through it. I think the other times are good too. Heck, I got through it after a long break. Just pick toppings according to ability, don’t eat before, maybe use a carbonated drink part way through, and most importantly, enjoy.
If you fancy a go, or just a good slice of pizza, pay a visit to NY Fold at:
103 Charing Cross Rd, Soho, London WC2H 0DT