Professional Eater Takes Down Hacienda Tacos Challenge


Tuesday, May 25th 2021, 7:49 pm
By: Brian Mueller


Randy Santel is chowing down on his latest challenge, three titanic two-pound tacos, cooked up by Hacienda Tacos.

"It was six pounds of food. I can't do it. I don't know many people that can," said Robby Vernon, Hacienda Tacos co-owner.

But Randy, or his eating alter-ego Atlas, is not like many people.

He's successfully conquered 997 food challenges in 50 states and 37 countries.

"It's pretty fascinating when you actually stop to think about it," said Santel.

Randy started packing down the food when he still had a six-pack.

Eleven years ago, he won a national body transformation contest, and celebrated by attempting a pizza challenge with a friend in his hometown of St. Louis.

"We ended up winning in 48 minutes. We got a check for $500 and then everything kind of just went from there," said Santel.

He launched the website foodchallenges.com and has amassed more than 2 million social media followers.

He does a challenge almost every day on tour, helping promote hundreds of local businesses along the way.

And Randy has this whole eating thing down to a science.

"I drink diet soda a lot of the times because that carbonation helps seep all into the food and pops up all the air bubbles.

He also feasts on his knees to open up his stomach.

This grub gladiator needed just 33 of the 60 minutes to take down these tacos.

It's win number 998, but Randy's last supper as a professional eater is near.

"I'm actually in the process, believe it or not, of becoming a registered dietician."

A move that has been marinating since 2012.

"You can't really build a following posting photos of kale and carrots. Once I become a dietician, I'll be the number one followed dietician in the world."

A fitting distinction for Randy, or Atlas, to hold.