Why Joey Chestnut Will Not Be Competing in This Year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

by Peter Candia
joey chestnut

Death, taxes and Joey Chestnut scarfing down hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year at Coney Island. These are some of life’s few certainties. 

However, in a groundbreaking decision, Nathan’s has decided to ban Joey Chestnut from competing in this year’s hot dog eating contest. Chestnut—who has won the competition 16 times and every year since 2016—recently signed a four-year, $1.2M contract with Impossible Foods, a direct competitor to Nathan’s.

Impossible Foods is best known for their Impossible Burger, which is an eerily meat-like vegan burger—complete with a true, beef-adjacent red hue. In addition to the burger, Impossible Foods has developed several other vegan items that have become hot names in the meatless food market. 

One of these other items is, you guessed it, a vegan hot dog alternative. Nathan’s is not happy about Chestnut’s decision to be represented by the brand. In a New York Post article about the issue, Steve Cuozzo revealed that a representative from Major League Eating (MLE) stated that Nathan’s has fought tooth and nail over the years to appease Chestnut—their biggest star. 

“We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” Major League Eating said. “MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to the appearance fee and allowing Joey to compete in a rival, unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day.”

The deal with Impossible Foods was a step too far, and Nathan’s is taking action to vocalize their distaste for the decision. It was also reported that Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in last year’s Nathan’s contest and was offered a four-year, $1.2 million contract.

Unless Chestnut walks back the deal, it seems that he will not be present in this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. The chase for his 17th title and quest to break his world-record 76 hot dogs ends here.

About the Author/s

Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

Related Articles

1 comment

FRED kORMANN June 12, 2024 - 5:07 pm

The whole hot dog eating contest should be banned ! It is disgusting !


Leave a Comment

Yes, I would like to receive emails from The Digest Online. Sign me up!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: New Jersey Digest. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact