Man vs. Fat Sandwiches
About 100 students skipped class, stood on flower planters, cars and the Grease Trucks yesterday to catch a glimpse of Travel Channel host Adam Richman as the network filmed an episode of the series, "Man v. Food" at the RU Hungry Grease Truck on the College Avenue campus.
Richman attempted to take the "Fat Sandwich Challenge" — eating five fat sandwiches in 45 minutes, which RU Hungry Grease Truck Owner Ayman Elnaggar said has been attempted by about 250 people in the last five years. Of them, 16 were successful, he said.
As the tradition goes, if a person can finish five fat sandwiches within the given time limit, a new sandwich gets named after the challenger.
"It's a great thing to give people the opportunity to create their own sandwiches," Elnaggar said. "I strongly believe if we [are a] success, it's Rutgers students' success [also]."
Many of the onlookers in the crowd said they were avid fans of the show and enthusiastic that the host could finish the sandwiches.
"I think he can do it, I've seen some crazy stuff, I think he's got this," said School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Eric Mann.
School of Arts and Sciences junior Tom Nucum said he came out to watch the filming of "Man v. Food" because he watches the show religiously.
"It's a challenge that I've never actually seen attempted," he said. "It's good to see someone take it down, and hopefully in the future I can eat a ‘Fat Adam.'"
School of Arts and Sciences senior Stephen Kropa said he saw Richman last Saturday outside of the Homecoming game.
"It was really fun to see him walking around, and I've been saying it for years he should come here and do this challenge," Kropa said.
A crowd of University students formed a circle around Richman while he filmed the introduction to the challenge.
Among those in the crowd was Darrell Butler, the namesake of the "Fat Darrell" sandwich.
Butler, a 1998 University alumnus, said when he was a college student, there was only one kind of sandwich — the "Fat Cat."
Tired of eating the "Fat Cat," Butler said he made a special request to the Grease Trucks one night.
"What I wanted the whole week was chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks [and] fries, but separately [that] would have cost $10 or $12, [and I] didn't have $10 or $12," he said. "But I did have enough for a ‘Fat Cat.'"
Butler said he asked the employees at the Grease Trucks if they could make a sandwich like the "Fat Cat," but with the aforementioned ingredients. He said the next 10 people that were in line behind him ordered the same thing, and the truck sold 50 "Fat Darrells" that first night.
"It's been the number one seller since," Butler said.
He said he has been on other TV shows on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, such as "Extreme Pig Outs." Butler said he was there yesterday to coach Richman through the challenge.
"We have a strategy going; he's trying to pick things that aren't [too heavy]. … He's going to get something a little thinner, so he should be able to pull this off," he said. "He hasn't eaten all day, he's been training for it, so he should be good."
As Richman finished the sandwiches, Elnaggar ran them out to him from the Grease Trucks one by one, still hot from the kitchen.
Elnaggar said the Travel Channel also came to the Grease Trucks to film a different show last year but there was not a large crowd turnout because it was during winter break.
Despite students not being present at last year's filming, he said the episode's airing helped bring in a lot of business.
"It feels real good that our food can be on a Rutgers campus," Elnaggar said. "It feels like a family and mom's kitchen."
Despite cheers and shouts from the crowd encouraging Richman to take "one more bite," after consuming four fat sandwiches, the host exceeded the 45-minute time limit and failed to complete the challenge.
Students stayed after the challenge to ask Richman questions on camera as part of the "press conference" portion of the episode. The host also took photos and signed autographs with students.
The New Jersey episode of "Man v. Food," will premiere on Dec. 9 on the Travel Channel, according to their official Web site.