NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ready, set, mangia!
A meatball eating contest was held Wednesday on the Upper East Side outside Nino’s Restaurant on First Avenue to raise money for earthquake victims in central Italy.
Contestants had one minute to eat as many meatballs as they could stomach.
Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, a veteran food contest participant, was the champion. He downed nine meatballs, taking sips of Italian spring water in between, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“They were good, I wasn’t expecting anything less, you don’t really get a chance to enjoy them in a minute,” said Jarvis, who won a lifetime supply of pasta at Nino’s.
“My method was cutting them so I could swallow them a little bit easier,” one contestant said.
“I did alright — five. It wasn’t as high as I was shooting for, but halfway to the champ,” another contestant said.
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy on Aug. 24, killing nearly 300 people. Proceeds from every meatball sold at Nino’s Restaurant will go to the Earthquake Relief Fund.
The contest was held a day before the city kicks off the annual Feast of San Gennaro.