Scarfing down five 10-ounce burgers along with seven sides in less than an hour may sound like a good time or torture depending on your perspective, but for Randy Santel and Katina DeJarnett, it’s their job.
The couple call themselves “professional eaters.” They make a living from touring around the country and filming themselves devouring massive food challenges at restaurants along the way, then posting the results online.
“It was something that I was watching and so I figured that there might be a pretty big market for that,” DeJarnett said.
She was right.
On YouTube alone, Santel, who also goes by “Atlas,” has 1.27 million subscribers. DeJarnett has about 234,000 on her “Katina Eats Kilos” channel.
Prior to their internet fame, both Santel and DeJarnett were bodybuilders.
“I got started in 2019 after doing a bodybuilding show in Spokane, Washington. Up until that show, I was on a hardcore diet obviously to get really lean for stage and I was hungry all the time,” DeJarnett said. “So, I was myself watching online, all these people eating food and stuff and I was like, ‘Wow, I think I can eat that much. I’m so hungry all the time, I could put away that amount of food no problem.’”
DeJarnett tackled her first food challenge after that show.
“I just decided to grab like a cheap camcorder and take it with me to a food challenge which I had found on Randy’s website coincidentally, foodchallenges.com, ” she said. “It was easy. It was no problem at all. I wanted dessert afterward. And so, I just kept grabbing my camera and going on to bigger and bigger food challenges and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
It was a similar story for Santel.
“I actually won a national body transformation contest in 2010,” Santel said. “With my buddy that helped me with everything, we celebrated the end of that diet and transformation by doing an 11-pound, 28-inch pizza challenge in St. Louis, Missouri where we’re both from and we ended up winning. We got the $50 pizza for free and we got check for $500 cash.”
Santel has been tackling food challenges since then and is coming up on his 11th year of chowing down professionally.
The couple met through competitive eating when Santel messaged DeJarnett to join him for a challenge in Alaska.
“We just back-to-back-to-back did a bunch of food challenges and we were in the car for hours together in between those challenges,” DeJarnett said. “It was like an interesting first meeting experience.”
On Florida Foodie, the couple shares their strategies for tackling a massive mound of food, the toughest food challenges to take on and what they have planned for the future. They also share some of their favorite Florida eats from around the state.
Please follow our hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s books, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”
Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere.
Find new episodes on Apple podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.