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Wings of Flame: Twede’s Cafe owner Kyle Twede introduces spicy chicken gobbling contest to Block Party
Without a strong man contest, how can the toughest of the tough show their stuff? In the Twede’s Cafe hot wing challenge, of course.
Participants in this year’s eating contest at the North Bend Block Party will have to exhibit a different kind of strength, as they eat six hot wings, brushed with fiery sauces and served one at a time. It may only be six wings, but “they start off hot, and go to the hottest,” said Twede’s waittress Brandy Haave.
In just six wings, contestants will sample hot sauces ranging from 47 times hotter than regular Tabasco sauce, to 4,782 times hotter, or about 4 million Scoville heat units. For perspective, Tabasco has about 2,500 units on the Scoville scale, and jalapenos, about 5,000.
“It’s a nasty thing, I did it myself,” said restaurant owner Kyle Twede. “It was easy the first time, so I got some hotter sauces.”
Twede said he chose the hot wings contest this year instead of the giant burger-eating contest he’s sponsored in the past, for a couple of reasons. Last year’s unfortunate ketchup-squirting of the crowd was part of it, but the restaurant is also adding the challenge to its regular menu, with some reservations.
“We tell all the waitresses to plead with the customers not to do the challenge,” Twede said, but those who are determined, like contestants at the block party, will have to sign a waiver. They then have 30 minutes to consume all of the wings. If they don’t complete the challenge, they’ll have to pay for their meal.
However, “If you do it, you get a big glass of milk and a free T-shirt,” Twede said. You’ll also get to add your name to the “fire walk” plaque, a tie-in to the Twin Peaks phenomenon and the “Fire Walk with Me” movie it inspired.
“We’re planning on burning some Twin Peakers, that’s for sure!” Twede joked.
The hot wing challenge for the block party has space for 12 contestants, and there is no fee to compete. The challenge is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at the community stage.
To sign up for the challenge, call Twede’s Cafe at (425) 831-5511.
Bring on the heat
Iced water, fish oil, or candle wax: These “cures,” wrong, partially right, or inspired by Homer Simpson, are all recommended to those brave souls heading into a hot wing challenge, like the one Twede’s Cafe is hosting for the North Bend Block Party.
Some of them may even work, either to defer the burning sensation until after the contest, or to lessen it afterward, but the tried-and-true cures all have delved into the science of spicy food.
Most hot foods get their zing from capsaicin, a chemical compound produced in chili peppers, which the Scoville scale ranks as the hottest with 16 million heat units (www.scovillescaleforpeppers.com). Capsaicin dissolves in fat or alcohol, but not in water, so the best ways to quench the fire of spicy foods are:
• Milk, yogurt, ice cream, anything with dairy fat molecules that bind to the capsaicin;
• Beer, wine, or other alcohol, which dissipate the compounds, but don’t stop them entirely;
• White bread, crackers and other simple starches which absorb the compounds;
• Acidic foods like tomato juice or lemon wedges; or
• Sugary foods and drinks.
The worst things to do when your mouth is on fire are:
• Drinking water, which just spreads the compound throughout your mouth;
• Drinking or eating anything hot, either in temperature or in spiciness;
• Letting the food touch any part of your lips or nose;
• Touching ANY part of your body during or after the contest, unless you’ve thoroughly washed your hands.