Man Breaks Guinness World Record After Eating 17 Ghost Peppers in One Minute

by Caitlin Berard

How do you feel about eating a fruit so hot that it’s used to keep wild elephants at bay? What about one so incredibly spicy that you have to wear gloves to handle it, and even then, it’s highly advised to wash your hands afterward to avoid permanently damaging your eyes and skin? Sounds so good you could eat, say, 17 of them in one sitting, right?

For most of us, the answer to that question is a hard no. But for San Diego native Gregory Foster, it’s a fun personal challenge. The California man is known for his pepper-eating prowess, and in November of last year, he broke the world record for most Bhut Jolokia chili peppers (a.k.a. ghost peppers) eaten in one minute.

“This record attempt is a personal challenge to see how far I can push myself and my love of the super hot peppers,” Foster explained before downing 17 ghost peppers.

“As a chili lover, I’ve been trying to advance the awareness and the excitement surrounding the super-hot [chilies] out there,” he continued. “This attempt was solely a personal endeavor to achieve another Guinness World Record alongside my currently standing [ones]. I love chili eating and pushing myself.”

As spice lovers know, drinking water is ill-advised for those looking for relief from a burning mouth. Water only spreads the fiery chemical capsaicin further, worsening the sensation. Milk is the way to go, as it contains casein, which binds to the spice, neutralizing its effect.

But Gregory Foster is no rookie. And after eating 17 of one of the hottest chilis known to man, he skipped the milk and went straight to Pepto Bismol, taking a massive swig straight from the bottle.

Gregory Foster’s Ghost Pepper Record is Only the Newest of His Chili Eating Accomplishments

Ghost peppers are rated at more than one million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). To put that into perspective, a Jalapeño pepper, still plenty spicy for most, registers at around 2,500 – 8,000 SHU.

So, ghost peppers are just a little spicy. You know, just 170 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. No big deal. Unbelievably, however, they’re not the hottest pepper in the world.

Though ghost peppers held the record at one time, pepper enthusiasts just can’t help themselves. And in 2011, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper was born, defeating the ghost pepper in terms of spice.

Then, just two years later, the Carolina Reaper was developed, a crossbreed that experts can only describe as “really nastily hot”. And who holds the record for eating the most Carolina Reapers? Oh yeah, it’s Gregory Foster.

In fact, Foster holds two Reaper records. The first is the one for most chilies eaten in a minute, which he broke in 2017. The other is for Fastest Time to Eat Three Carolina Reapers, a record he captured in 2021.

As the owner of Inferno Farms, a “craft hot sauce purveyor,” Gregory Foster has dedicated his life to spice. Just hopefully not at the price of his esophagus.