INTERVIEW: "Steel Rod" Radim Dvořáček on Food Challenges, Competitive Eating, and Future Plans
Radim Dvořáček, known by his stage name "Steel Rod," is a competitive eater and YouTuber from the Czech Republic.
When it comes to eating, Radim has great passion and he constantly pushes himself to do better.
This determination has led Dvořáček to complete over 200 food challenges and take on eating contests in 17 countries.
Radim doesn't just attempt restaurant food challenges and eating contests. He also creates food challenges at home and films them for his YouTube channel, where he has amassed almost 150,000 subscribers. He even has a shirt that says "Always Hungry..." with his name on it.
Can you be more dedicated than that?
At Food Challenge News, we are constantly curious about behind-the-scenes, food challenge preparation, and the age-old question: "How do they do it?"
Well, we went ahead and sat down with the one and only "Steel Rod" himself and discussed engaging topics such as how he got started, his nickname, food challenges, and much more!
FCN: Hi, Radim! Thank you for chatting with us today! What have you been up to recently?
Steel Rod: In recent months, I won a few eating contests in the Czech Republic (burger, kolache, and dumplings) and set a new official record in the Czech Book of Records by eating 4kg of Spätzle (a type of pasta) in 25 minutes.
FCN: How did you get into the world of competitive eating?
Steel Rod: In 2015, I found out about the 2kg burger challenge in my hometown, which interested me as I have always liked to eat large portions of food. I tried to complete the challenge but failed because my stomach just didn't have enough capacity for it. I tried to search the internet for ways to train for it, and I found Randy Santel's website with great tips on how to train your body for food challenges. I trained accordingly and then managed to win the rematch of that burger challenge. Then I completed more challenges in other cities and also won a few eating contests, and my passion for it remains to this day.
FCN: You are the #1 competitive eater in the Czech Republic. How did it feel to reach the top spot in the country for competitive eating?
Steel Rod: Well, competitive eating is not very popular in my country. We only have 2-3 eaters here who compete regularly, so it's not too difficult to become the #1 competitive eater. So it really doesn't satisfy me, and I'm trying to keep improving so that one day I can at least approach the qualities of the world's best eaters.
FCN: How did you get the nickname "Steel Rod?"
Steel Rod: It was created in 2016 when I first met Randy Santel, who traveled to the Czech Republic with his sister and another competitive eater, "Magic" Mitch. When we were walking through Prague, one of them called me "Steel Rod" for whatever reason. I don't really know why. They all called me that for the rest of the trip, and I liked it so much that I started using it as my official nickname.
Credit: Steel Rod Radim
FCN: How do you prepare for an upcoming eating competition or food challenge?
Steel Rod: I've always prepared by eating huge portions of vegetables and drinking lots of water to have a good stomach capacity for the challenge/contest. The problem was that I never practiced my speed or mental endurance, which is also very important in competitive eating. I'm trying to focus on that now, so we'll see in the upcoming challenges/contests if I'm a better eater.
FCN: You are closing in on 150,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel. Do you have anything planned to celebrate this milestone?
Steel Rod: Well, I'm not a person who would ever celebrate anything too much, so I'm not really planning any kind of celebration. If something really significant happens that's worth celebrating, I will celebrate it by eating some big high-quality steak, which is my favorite food.
FCN: Who is the first competitive eater you collaborated with on your YouTube channel?
Steel Rod: Randy Santel. I'm really happy about that because thanks to him, I got into the world of competitive eating.
FCN: What are your hobbies outside of competitive eating?
Steel Rod: Well, competitive eating is what I devote more and more time to, so there's not much time left for other hobbies. If there is still some time left, I like to watch a new movie or go to a hockey game, which is my second favorite sport right after competitive eating.
FCN: What are your upcoming plans for competitive eating and your YouTube channel?
Steel Rod: In a few weeks, I'm going to Poland (I'll be there August 9-12th) to take on four challenges, some of which will be the biggest I've ever attempted (5kg burgers and a 5kg kebab). On August 20th, I will defend my title in the Plum Dumpling Eating Contest in Vizovice, Czech Republic, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and in which I hold the Czech record that I set in 2018 by eating 202 dumplings in an hour. (The world record is 233 dumplings by my buddy Pat Bertoletti from Chicago). I believe this eating contest is not only the biggest and most famous in the Czech Republic but in the whole of Europe.
The most exciting is coming in September. I signed up and got a spot in the Pork Roll Eating Championship. It is a contest organized by MLE (Major League Eating) and will take place on September 24th in Trenton, NJ. I'll be competing against some of the best eaters in the world, including my good buddy Pat Bertoletti and hopefully the world's #1 eater, Joey Chestnut.
After that, I will be in the US until October 17th, and I will be doing challenges in the NYC area, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and possibly other states as well.
I also signed a contract with MLE (Major League Eating) in June, so now I'm officially a professional eater alongside the other best eaters in the world and the league! I can't wait!
FCN: Thank you again for chatting with us, Radim! How can our readers find out more about you?
Steel Rod: Readers can follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Links below.
Photo credits: Steel Rod Radim
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