Poutine-Eating Contest Tests Stamina

04/05/12 11:21AM By Ric Cengeri, Ric Cengeri
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VPR/Ric Cengeri
Poutine is the Quebecois dish that consists of French fries, cheese curds and gravy. Eating contests for the popular meal happen regularly in Quebec and VPR's Ric Cengeri recently attended one.

Hot dog-eating contests have become so trendy in this country that some are even televised on sports networks like ESPN. But north of the border, a different type of eating race is gaining in popularity. In Quebec, poutine-eating competitions are being scheduled around the province.

VPR's Ric Cengeri recently went to Dunham, Quebec to get a taste of one of the contests.

(Cengeri) On a chilly Friday night inside the Brasserie Dunham the atmosphere was warm and friendly as five competitors prepared for the pub's first poutine-eating contest.

Poutine is the Quebecois dish that consists of French fries, cheese curds and gravy. For the contest, competitors had to eat three heaping plates of poutine - one regular, one topped with bacon and beef and another topped with ribs and onion rings - and drink a pint of beer.

Contestant Karl Benoit had a strategy:

(Karl Benoit) "I'm going to start really slow and then maybe go fast at the end."

(Cengeri) The pub was filled with frieds, family members and the curious as manager Sabrina Paquain [pah KANE] started the proceedings.

(Sabrina Paquin) "Abu poutine...Monge, monge, monge."

(Cengeri) Early in the competition, Edouard Lagace of Cowansville was apprehensive about continuing for much longer. He even tried to handoff his second plate of poutine to nearby crowd members.

(Edouard Lagace) "I'm done [laughs]. Almost done."

(Cengeri) Spectator Jim Webb of West Brome is allergic to potatoes, but is a big fan of the pub's poutine. This was his advice to the five chowhounds up on stage:

(Jim Webb) "I have no idea about eating contests but all I know is slow and steady wins the race. Steady, slow, slow. Take some air, take some air and get back in there. Don't worry, you're on it."

(Cengeri) It took just over 21 minutes before one of the contestants finished all three poutines and his beer. Rallying from fourth place early in the race, Eduoard Lagace was the winner!

(Edouard Lagace) "I didn't eat for, well I got my breakfast at 11 o'clock this morning but nothing else.  I just didn't stop, though the other contestants, they just stopped because they couldn't handle any more. I was not faster, I just didn't stop, so yeah."

(Cengeri) As the winner of the contest, Lagace received a $70 gift certificate at the pub. Asked what he'll spend it on...

(Edouard Lagace) "Not poutine, no. Not poutine."

(Cengeri) Lagace is a music student and folk musician and will be back at the Brasserie Dunham this Saturday night to perform.

For VPR News, I'm Ric Cengeri.

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