Student Watch: Fall 2012

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Eric Dahl x’13 has a job that might be the envy of many college students: he’s paid to eat.

Dahl — nicknamed “Silo” — is the nation’s top-ranked collegiate competitive eater.

He discovered his talent in 2011 after taking on a challenge at Big Red’s Steakhouse in Madison to avoid paying for his meal. He finished the three-pound cheese steak easily, and decided to take on another challenge again a few weeks later while on vacation in Duluth, Minnesota. This time, success promised notoriety in the form of a menu item.

“Now there’s a Dahl burger in Minnesota, and it just kind of went from there,” he says.

After less than a year of competition, Dahl holds two world records — for pulled pork sandwiches (nine in six minutes) and hands-free pumpkin pie (twenty-seven slices in eight minutes) — and is undefeated in individual challenges. He credits his enormous success to dedication and a strict training schedule.

“I treat it like any other sport,” he says. “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to practice, train, all that kind of stuff.” He pays close attention to what he eats, ramping his calorie intake up or down before competitions, and he exercises regularly to stay healthy overall.

But even though Dahl is hoping his career continues to grow, there are still some challenges he would refuse.

“Watermelon, maybe,” he says. “I’ve just never been a fan of watermelon at all.”

Published in the Fall 2012 issue

Tags: Food, sports, Students

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