The lonesome independence day of Kobayashi, eater in exile

Luke O’Brien profiles the personality that put competitive eating on the map.

Are you the Che Guevara of gurgitation or the Kenny Powers of power eating? I asked him. He paused, then laughed: I am both! […]

Kobayashi focuses so completely during contests that he blocks out flavor. If you taste something, you’re not at the maximum of your ability, he says. What I think about in competition is temperature and texture. It has nothing to do with taste or emotion.