Competitive lettuce-eating club returns to campus


Jessica Xing

Members of the lettuce club brought back the annual lettuce-eating competition to campus at the Sept. 30 meeting. A new club president, second-year Oscar Wilmerding, emerged victorious.

Erin Fine, news staff

Northeastern’s Lettuce Club met Sept. 30 for its second annual competition — to eat an entire head of lettuce in the shortest time. The winner is named the new club president and gains the honor of hosting the next year’s Lettuce Club.

Fourth-year chemical engineering major and club leader Shaked Lotem led over a dozen competitors and a crowd of fans outside the Curry Student Center on the cool Friday evening. He gave a list of simple rules — consume an entire head of iceberg lettuce, with salad dressing if desired — before the contestants began butting heads.

After a few short, tense minutes, second-year mechanical engineering major Oscar Wilmerding was victorious.

“I feel really good,” Wilmerding said after his win. “I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. I’ve never eaten something that fast competitively. I didn’t even know I was winning until I looked down the line.”

Lotem, both the now-former head of Lettuce Club and a competitor in this year’s challenge, said he was proud of his performance despite losing his title.

“Honestly, I did well,” Lotem said. “We had a lot of competitors. I came hungry and ready to eat. I think I wanted it the most.”

Competitors used several strategies to contend for the coveted title. Salad dressings, water and even chewing patterns came into play.

“I developed a strategy about halfway through,” Wilmerding said. “I’d take three or four bites and swallow. It wasn’t comfortable.”

Before competitors vied for their chance to lead the Lettuce Club, spirits were high as competitive energy swept the crowd. 

“Ever since I first heard of the Lettuce Club, I dedicated every waking moment to training, and I can’t believe it’s finally happening,” said Parker Brandt, a fourth-year computer science and business administration combined major. 

Brandt said he wore green to promote club spirit, an ensemble echoed by several others.

Alvin Wong, a second-year computer science and design combined major, competed in a black-tie suit. He was flanked by a similarly dressed “hype man.”

“Lettuce pray,” Wong said before the competition. “Lettuce have a good time. I’m shreddy to win.”

For those that missed this year’s event, romaine calm: as head of Lettuce Club, Wilmerding now holds the responsibility of arranging next year’s competition. He says he’s ready to promote the anticipated event.

“Hopefully, I can keep the title,” Wilmerding said. “I’m going to get as much enthusiasm [around the club] as possible. It’s a very young club, and hopefully it will be a very big club.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated Oct. 12 at 1:09 p.m. to include additional information and credit in the photo caption.