Stuffed, smiling, and with bits of fried dough clinging to his chin, Wayne Algenio hoisted a massive trophy into the air Sunday night and became the inaugural champion of the West Indian American Carnival's Golden Krust Jamaican beef patty eating contest. Algenio bested a field of six competitors tasked with eating as many patties as possible in five minutes while hundreds of spectators gathered at the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum looked on. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams presented and emceed the contest.

The competitors—all of them men—entered via email and were chosen at random for their place in the patty race. Amongst them was Jamie Andejar, 38, of East Flatbush, who was eating competitively for the first time. When asked if he did anything to prepare for the contest, he said, "All I can say is three beers and one White Castle slider to start."

There are lots of fun questions to ask someone who's just actively tried to gorge themselves in front of a crowd, (Is this even fun? Do you feel sick? Do you have insurance?), but the obvious one is "Why?" Competitor and Crown Heights local David Caicedo, 28, speaking personally, said, "I thought it would be just the spirit of the Golden Krust." When I asked him what that was, exactly, he paused and smiled. "Spicy."

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(Scott Heins/Gothamist)

Golden Krust is a Caribbean, Jamaican, and West Indian fast food chain with over 50 New York City locations. Franchises stretch down the Atlantic coast through eight states, and its beef, chicken, and vegetable patty varieties have sales that eclipse 54 million each year. "When you think about it, the theme of what July 4th and hot dogs mean to the entire country, the patties also mean to the Caribbean," Adams said just before the contest began.

And once things begin, Algenio immediately thrived. His movements are all vertical; he works in a fighter's stance with his feet split wide and his hands always out just in front of his head, never open. Minimal reaching—no distance wasted. He eats with two patties held in one hand and drinks lots of water. He breathes heavy, bites huge and is just absolutely destroying the competition two minutes in. Algenio ends up eating seven and a half patties when time is called, for an victorious grand total of 3675 calories consumed.

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Wayne Algenio (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

Algenio, 30, of Jamaica, Queens is an aspiring competitive eater, an amateur who's already competed in over ten gastro-rodeos this year. Others found out about the West Indian American Carnival contest through Facebook, but he caught wind through a posting on, a classified website dedicated to eating contests worldwide. He explains to me how much food temperature matters and drops the phrase "flavor fatigue." Algenio has raced against the clock to eat pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and kimchi. His specialty, though, is balut, which, if you're familiar, damn. There's some pretty serious video of Algenio eating balut online, and it's captivating in all its gristly glory. "I felt a little nervous because I had eaten quite a bit today before this," he said of the patty contest, "[but] I have a pretty big capacity for food."

Medical technician by day, Algenio was far and away the most skilled eater in Crown Heights Sunday night. But talking just after his victory, he's was gracious and self-aware—Algenio lacks the smug cunning of a ringer let loose amongst weekend warriors. "I never get overconfident; anyone can beat me any day of the week," he stressed.

"My tummy takes me places," he said with a smile, picking up his trophy and leaving the stage.

Near the event's barricade post-show, Adams stressed that the contest will become a "mainstay" of Brooklyn's neighborhood Caribbean celebrations.

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Algenio claims victory (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

"We intentionally did it on Sunday night with a smaller audience, but next year we're going to do it on Saturday when there are thousands of people in the crowd." Adams envisions a nationwide qualifier round, with the winners flying in to Crown Heights next Labor Day weekend from all over the country. "It's going to be more competitive, and we're going to get some professionals here as well," he said.

In the post-Kobayashi present, taking in an amateur eating contest is strange. It looks nothing like the televised contests. Sunday night's walk-ons lacked the rhythmic flow and the superhuman poise of the pros. They laughed and did awkward half-dances, turning to espy one another's progress as they chewed. Still, Algenio, who is from the other Jamaica (Queens), has hungry dreams: He hopes to compete, one day, at the biggest event of all, Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest.