I’ve overcome some serious challenges in my life - climbing Mount Snowdon at the age of 10, passing my driving test at the first attempt aged 18, and running the Blackpool 10k last month.
So when I was tasked with eating a burger, chips and a side of coleslaw within a quarter of an hour, I assumed it would be a doddle. Then I saw the size of it...
The gargantuan dish offered by the Walkabout bar, on Queen Street, comprises a chicken escalope, two beef burger patties, a spicy bean burger, two pieces of bacon, four onion rings, cheese, mayonnaise, jalapeno peppers, chilli jam, lettuce and tomato in a bun (held together by three strategically-inserted supporting columns) - served with a double portion of chips and coleslaw.
It’s known as the Man vs Food Challenge and has been the downfall of a number of foolhardy customers, whose penchant for bravado had proved bigger than their appetite when it comes to the big occasion.
The burger has been introduced by the chain to promote its two meals for the price of one offer, which runs between noon and 7pm.
It is now hoped the challenge will become a permanent addition to the menu.
Sam Heathcote, the bar’s deputy head manager, explained that many had tried and failed in their pursuit to successfully tackle the beast (and win a fetching T-shirt in the process).
Sam said: “We’ve had a few challengers and one of our staff managed to do it.
“People’s eyes are always bigger than their bellies.
“Usually the chips and onion rings are what’s left over, it’s a good little challenge.”
“A good little challenge” seems like a bit of an understatement, but with no-one else at Gazette Towers brave (or daft) enough to take on this mammoth meal it was left to me to prove my worth, open my gullet and gorge my way to glory.
I’ve always been capable of eating a large amount of food in one sitting, but gluttony on this scale was unprecedented for me.
And with just 15 minutes in which to complete the challenge the odds (and chips) were well and truly stacked against me.
So I picked up my knife and fork (I was worried my mum might turn up out of the blue and chastise me for having bad table manners) then began to dig in.
The burger itself proved the easiest part of the task.
There was no time to savour or even identify the component ingredient I was viciously stabbing and then shovelling into my mouth, but I had polished it off in a shade over five minutes.
Then I hit the wall.
Every desperate chip became more difficult to consume and, combined with a seemingly infinite pile of coleslaw, I thought I was done for.
But, with the extremely vocal support of the Walkabout staff I ploughed on, and on, and on. Eventually, and in a pain so extreme I can only assume childbirth pales in comparison, I scooped the last mouthful on to my tongue, chewed for an eternity, swallowed – and victoriously placed my knife and fork at 12 o’clock on the plate (I still thought my mum might turn up).
The staff alerted other customers of my highly undignified success and I received a rapturous ovation.
I had truly been there, done that and got the T-shirt. But I never, ever want to do it again.