Despite the ferris wheels and free piña coladas, the real attraction at this year’s San Gennaro festival was Queens native Wayne Algenio. He dominated the eating contests by winning two out of the three, first devouring 38 cannoli in six minutes on Friday, Sept. 13, then stuffing down 54 zeppoli in the same timeframe less than a week later. The only reason he didn’t represent at the meatball competition? He had signed up for a mac and cheese eating contest the same day (which he won).
Since placing fourth at a local pizza eating contest in 2012, Algenio has established himself as an intimidating competitor. The eating feats he accomplished at San Gennaro may not have been as painful as the time he set a Guinness World Record for most Carolina Reaper peppers eaten in one minute (22), but Algenio said there were still challenges to both. “When you’re eating [cannoli] it starts to scrape on your gums,” he told Bedford + Bowery. “So the next day, or even right after, you can feel that your gums and your mouth is cut up a little. But they’re easier to get down.” In contrast, the zeppoli were “just a lot more chewing.”
Despite the ridiculous amount of calories he consumed in just six minutes, Algenio still got something to eat after the zeppole contest. “I always gotta get a sausage and peppers when I’m at the Feast of San Gennaro,” he said. To give you an idea of just how crazy this is, here’s our breakdown of the absurd amount of calories, carbs, and cholesterol Algenio consumed at San Gennaro.
*Zeppole nutrition facts are from fitbit; cannoli nutrition facts were taken from Ferrara’s, the cannoli contest’s supplier.
Sweet Victory: Watch our video to see Wayne claim his $100 prize for downing 54 zeppoli and, with them, 54 grams of sugar. Says Wayne: “Win or lose, at the end of the day I had something delicious to eat.”