Taking on hottest chillis the world has to offer

Otago Daily Times reporter Mark John takes on water during the Dunedin Chilli Eating Champs 2024...
Otago Daily Times reporter Mark John takes on water during the Dunedin Chilli Eating Champs 2024 last night. Michael White was the eventual winner. PHOTOS: LINDA ROBERTSON
There comes a point in a man’s life when he begins to question his purpose.

The day-to-day slog becomes mundane and there is a yearning for a challenge to spice things up.

Last night, from the fiery depths of Mt Doom yours truly rose to the challenge of the hottest on offer — the Dunedin round of the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs.

Growing up with an Indian father, a mild butter chicken was never an option.

Michael White, of Invercargill.
Michael White, of Invercargill.
Everything had to be Indian hot — which was hotter than Sydney Sweeney.

After moving to Dunedin for university in 2017, a year of meals at Aquinas College took the heat tolerance down a few notches.

A diet of devilled sausages and late-night toast had dulled the spice palate.

But now, after years of being an embarrassment to the family name, it was time for redemption.

William Lindekilde, of Oamaru.
William Lindekilde, of Oamaru.
Going back to the land of spice and fire came with some self-doubt.

How would the gallbladder that had a 15cm diameter stone in it fare?

Would the haemorrhoids swell up when it was time for the chillis to exit?

Would the taste buds ever recover again?

Nonetheless, it was time to risk it for the biscuit — the biscuit being a cash reward and bragging rights in the newsroom.

Stefan Johnston, of Dunedin.
Stefan Johnston, of Dunedin.
It was about round four when the competition began to heat up with the peach habanero at 300,000 Scovilles (heat units).

The men would be separated from the boys.

The guy next to me Casey Osborne, of Tahakopa, vomited and exited the competition.

However, after eating a ghost pepper which had a Scoville scale rating of 1million it felt like my soul left my body and I was about to meet my creator.

My body was vibrating from the inside and not only was my mouth on fire but it felt like I had done some serious damage to my gut.

Isabelle Lee, of Dunedin.
Isabelle Lee, of Dunedin.
So it was time to call it a day.

Having made it to round five of 13, I felt I had earned my redemption and there was nothing left to prove.

So I set off into the sunset a happy man who knew his limits.

All respect to the winner of the night Michael White, of Invercargill, who ate a 1.8 million Scoville douglah combined with a 5000 Scoville jalapeno.