One of the hottest chillis in the world was taken on by one brave Northampton man who set a new curry eating record.
James Anderson set a new world record at Saffron in Castilian Street yesterday (Tuesday) when he conquered the mighty naga chilli - known for their intense heat and can lead to burning of eyes, streaming noses and uncontrollable hiccups.
The fiery naga served at Saffron is already one of the hottest curries in Northampton but chefs took it to a new level by using chillies imported directly from Bangladesh to cook their hottest ever dish.
Four competitors took on the heat of the spicy snack, with record breaking gourmand Peter Dowdeswell on hand to adjudicate who could eat three raw chillies followed by a serving of the burning hot curry and a shot of chilli vodka in the quickest possible time.
James, 23, from Little Billing, demolished the lot in one minute and 15 seconds, beating the his rival Marcus Sharman into second place.
They were the only two people able to finish the dish, which was three times hotter than the standard Saffron naga and had been marinating for a week to intensify the flavour.
James, whose time will now be entered into the record books, said: “I’m over the moon, it’s something I’ve never done before and to be honest, I’ll probably never do again. I love spicy food but I’ve never had anything on that level before.
“After the raw chillies I wasn’t really able to taste anything else so the texture then became the biggest problem. It was tough but I’m delighted to be able to say I’ve done it. My family always say I’m up for a challenge when it comes to chillies and it looks like they’re right.”
Naga chillies can register up to 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale, the global measurement of chilli heat.
A typical scotch bonnet chilli weighs in at about 200,000 Scovilles while a Jalepeno is just 5,000.
Saffron owner Naz Islam said: “Our naga chillies are seriously hot stuff. The heat in that curry was enough to blow most peoples’ heads off. We put three times our normal number of chillies in that naga sauce and left it for seven days to take on even more flavour.”
Judge and timekeeper Mr Dowdeswell himself holds 365 world records, including drinking a litre of beer in 1.5 seconds and also eating a shopping trolley.
He said: “It was a terrific effort from James, you could feel the heat coming off the curry from several feet away. He can now say he’s the proud owner of a world record.”