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Monday, June 22, 2015

L.A. Women Rule The 5th Annual Habanero Eating Contest 2015


 First-time winner is a woman Teresa de Jesus Sandoval

20 minutes and 53 chiles habaneros later new chile-eating champ is crowned in Los Angeles.

Records broken during Chichén Itzá Restaurant’s 5th Annual Chile Habanero Contest held on Father’s Day.


Vesper Public Relations. LOS ANGELES, CA (June 22, 2015) – On Sunday, June 21, 2015, a new chile habanero-eating champ was crowned by Chichén Itzá Restaurant and chef-owner Gilberto Cetina at the 5th Annual Chile Habanero Eating Contest, women ruled the contest.

Watch a snippet of the 5th Annual Habanero Eating Contest



The contest took place on Sunday, June 21, as part of the Father’s Day Celebration at downtown’s Mercado La Paloma located at 3655 S. Grand Av., Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Teres de Jesus Sandoval, from Los Angeles, managed to eat a record-breaking 53 chiles habaneros in a period of 20 minutes, breaking last year’s record by a whopping 8 chiles! Sandoval claimed the first-place trophy and a $500 gift certificate from Chichén Itzá Restaurant.

“I thought last year was something when we had a tie for first place with the winners eating 31 chiles each,” said Chef Cetina. “But this year’s champion stunned us all with his downing of 53 chiles. This puts us only 8 chiles behind the Guinness World Records for chile habanero eating.”

Taking second place, and returning for a repeat performance, & win was Octavio Sebastián from Los Angeles, who managed to eat 25 chiles. Last year he had eaten 41 chiles to take the second-place award. In addition to his second-place trophy, Sebastián received a $300 gift certificate from Chichén Itzá Restaurant.

In third place was Adela Ballesteros another woman from Los Angeles, who joined in at the last minute and ate a total of 18 chiles, but was very happy to have placed in the competition. Along with her trophy, she was awarded a $200 gift certificate from the restaurant.

10 contestants vied for awards during the 20-minute competition this year. Each was provided 45 chiles habaneros to start with along with milk, water and tacos de cochinita pibil to help wash down the fiery chiles. Each contestant received a certificate of participation and a t-shirt announcing that they had survived the chile-eating contest. Family members, friends, supporters and a lively crowd cheered on the contestants.

Make no mistake about it, these chiles are hot. Chiles habaneros rate up to 325,000 on the Scoville scale. Compare this with the jalapeño pepper that rates a mere 2,500–8,000 on the same scale.

Chichén Itzá Restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula where folks love their ultra-hot habanero peppers. The restaurant has garnered rave reviews from loyal customers and from such publications as Travel and Leisure Magazine, GQ Magazine, L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Hispanic Magazine, and La Opinión. It was recently named by the L.A. Times food writer Jonathon Gold as one of the best 101 restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area. Chef Cetina also runs a thriving catering business and markets a line of Yucatecan culinary products under the Chichén Itzá Restaurant label that includes two chile habanero salsas. His cookbook, co-authored with Katharine A. Díaz and son, Gilberto, Jr., is available in English and Spanish: Sabores Yucatecos: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán and Sabores yucataecos: Un recorrido culinario a Yucatán (WPR Books: Comida). Both are available on Amazon and at WPR Books.