Chilli Joe turns up the heat on his competition
He's a chilli eating king with the crown to prove it after returning from a competition on a high - quite literally.
Coffs Harbour local Joe Jackson, aka chilli Joe, recently returned from a chilli eating competition in Kingscliff, the clear winner in the two divisions up for grabs - devouring the most chocolate covered chilis and hot sauce.
"When you eat enough it releases endorphins - it's like compared to a runners' high - plus I just like the competition side of it. I'm pretty competitive and try to be the best."
In the first round contestants were presented with chocolate covered chilis in increasing intensities starting with a green jalapeños.
"Out of 10 us there were just two left at the end - the others couldn't handle it and just walked off. The VRA (volunteer rescue association) supplied them with milk."
The two left standing were then set a speed-eating challenge.
"They pulled out big green cayenne chillies and the first to finish two of them was the winner - I won by just 15 seconds.
"I was feeling pretty good. I didn't need milk or anything."
He won $100 and a prize pack including more chocolate covered chillies.
"I ate some more of them later in the day."
Next it was on to the hot sauce round. With his fellow contestants dropping like flies he was one of just two left standing with organisers putting the sauces aside and pulling out the big guns.
"They pulled out the Carolina Reaper - the world's hottest chilli - and we kept eating them one at a time.
"Then the other guy said to me 'How many have you got in you?' and I said 'as many as it takes' and he just shook my hand and walked off and gave me the win."
Joe, who is 26 and went to Woolgoolga High School, says he started training for the Sawtell chilli-eating competition before it was pulled from the chilli festival program.
"I was really interested in trying something new and yeah I don't mind chillies so I thought I would see how far I can go with all of this.
"Every day I eat chillies - always after a good meal though otherwise I get stomach cramps."
He lives with his tolerant parents and loves to cook his favourite dish chilli con carne.
"But they can't come too close because of the vapours. There's been a few times I'm cooking it up in fry pan and dad might be in the next room and he starts coughing because it's seeping through the door."