When it's your job to take on the most insane food challenges across America, life is pretty good. Just ask Casey Webb, the new host of Travel Channel’s popular show Man v. Food, which kicked off its fifth season on Monday.
“This job is the perfect marriage of the two things I love most: performing and the restaurant business,” says Webb, an actor who's been working in restaurants since he was a teenager.
The 10-episode run will visit Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, and other cities across the U.S. as Webb devours insanely large and over-the-top menu items. In the premiere, the food lover takes on a burger stuffed with fries and fondue in Manhattan, a pizza served in a "box" made of pizza in Brooklyn, and a multiple choice challenge (milkshake/Sloppy Joe/habanero ghost chili wings) in Staten Island, NY.
We're drifting into a food coma just thinking about it. But before you pass out, read on for The Feast's one-on-one with America’s newest extreme-eating personality.
The Feast: How do you prepare for challenges physically?
Casey Webb: I do work out and keep my other meals light the day of a challenge, but nothing prepares me more than learning about a new place and meeting the chefs that are cooking in that city. Those connections are what make these challenges fun. When it’s time for the challenge, I’ve got 20 to 30 people behind me, cheering me on.
The Feast: How do you prepare for the challenges mentally?
CW: For me, these challenges are as much a mental challenge as they are physical. I need to get into the battle zone, because there’s nothing quite like this. You may have to rev up your brain to conquer a mountain of meat, and also to prepare for the moment you realized a giant hamburger kicked your butt.
The Feast: What has been your worst experience on the show?
CW: Are you kidding me? This is my dream job, and I'm ready to take on anything food has to throw at me. I am battle ready! I may not conquer every challenge, but I will definitely have a blast trying.
The Feast: How do you manage your weight while filming?
CW: Like all of us, of course I care about my health, which is why I work out regularly. This is one meal out of a week, and I don’t eat like this all of the time.
The Feast: What's been your favorite experience on the show?
CW: I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 14, and now I get to travel to all these cities, tasting delicious food and making new friends along the way in the environment I’ve always loved. In addition to that, while in Milwaukee, I got to play catch with a couple of players from the Brewers on the field at Miller Park and met the former MLB “commish” Bud Selig. That was unbelievable! Best job ever!
The Feast: How do you get yourself through each challenge when you hit a wall?
CW: It really is the fans and new friends that I’ve made in each city that show up to cheer me on. The energy and excitement of the crowd is the best motivator.
The Feast: Have you always been an adventurous or big eater?
CW: My parents opened my eyes to the food world, taking me to their favorite places for Chinese food and pizza, and then working in restaurants helped me explore more cuisines and solidify my love of all different types of food.
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