Heat is on to find Canberra’s chilli champion

Michael Weaver 15 March 2021
Eric Bailey, of Fraser Grocer

Eric Bailey, of Fraser Grocer, with just some of the selection of hot sauces for people who love their chilli. Photo: Supplied.

The saying, “if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen” will be rewritten when an independent Canberra grocery store hosts an eye-watering chilli challenge guaranteed to set mouths on fire.

One of the challenges even involves telling dad jokes after eating the hottest chilli chocolate on the planet.

The event, at Fraser Grocer on 20 March, will also determine Canberra’s chilli champion who will earn a place in the Australian Chilli-Eating Championships in Melbourne in July.

Supermarket owner Eric Bailey can handle a high-intensity chilli and has scoured the Scoville units for the country’s hottest chilli challenges and has come up with a competition that will fire up the hardiest of chilli connoisseurs.

“All the contestants will have to sign a disclosure waiver saying they have no medical conditions or heart conditions. There will be drooling, there will be lots of crying, there’s going to be a bit of pain,” Mr Bailey told Region Media.

Chocolate skull infused with super hot chilli.

Uncle Mungo’s skull chocolate for the Yeah Nah Challenge at the chilli-eating competition. Photo: Supplied.

His one-stop chilli shop is proudly not affiliated with any of the supermarket chains. The supermarket, which reopened in July last year, will also have a lot of chilli products including an array of chilli sauces, chilli tea, rubs or salts from more than 20 different suppliers.

The chilli challenge involves three events for those with mild, medium and extreme heat tolerances to the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU), which is a scale for expressing the relative pungency of chilli peppers against that of pure capsaicin, which measures 16 million Scoville units.

The world’s hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper, measures between 1.5-2.2 million Scoville units, but the chilli extracts are where the heat really begins.

Challenge one, the ‘Spitting Fire and Ice Challenge’ involves 300 ml of ice cream in a bowl with half a bottle of Brutal Cherry Sauce and a spray of 2.5 million Scoville Satan Spit extract.

Contestants have three minutes to clean their bowl and another three minutes to take the burn. Milk and yoghurt are provided, but any contestant who uses them is eliminated.

Those taking on the second challenge, named ‘The Toe of Satan’, must eat a lollipop. But it isn’t any ordinary lollipop – this is a 9 million Scoville lollipop named Toe of Satan. You must leave the lollipop in your mouth for five minutes. If there is no winner after five minutes, the challenge continues until one person is left.

Challenge three is no joke! “It is going to hurt,” said Mr Bailey.

Called ‘Uncle Mungo’s Yeah Nah Challenge’, those game enough must eat a combination of silky milk chocolate infused with Carolina Reaper, Bhut Jolokia and 16 million SHU pure capsaicin.

“Once everyone has swallowed the chocolate, they take turns reciting a series of dad jokes,” says Mr Bailey.

“If jokes are completed and we still have contestants, we sit back and watch until one person is left.”

If an additional challenge is required, a special challenge will decide the winner.


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The winners of the three challenges, plus one additional person, will then take part in a special challenge to determine the Canberra chilli beast to enter the Australian championships. This event will be announced on the day.

Mr Bailey said he is fairly sure Canberra has some chilli heavyweights game enough to take on the challenge.

“I’m really hoping we’ve got one or two in there who can go on to play with the heavyweights in the Australian championships. There are plenty of chilli heads out there but I’ve just to find the ones who are willing to give it a shot,” he said.

“Only the bravest will survive the challenges.”

You can find out more about Fraser Grocer on their Facebook page or register for the Canberra Chilli Challenge event.


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