September 29, 2020

BY HEATHER KENNERY

Are you hungry for a challenge? Second-year Conestoga College broadcast television student Ryan Drury is. He is the host of Tri-City Eats, a new show being produced as part of Conestoga Connected, which airs on Rogers Cable 20 on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Wednesdays at 4 p.m. Drury tours around K-W  and Cambridge visiting the best eateries, where he attempts to eat epic proportions.

On Feb. 9 he took on his first of eight challenges at Smokin’ Tony’s Bar-B-Que, a smokehouse in Waterloo that features southern classics such as pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs and sweet potato casserole.

The owner of Smokin’ Tony’s, Tony Aresti, was excited to see if Drury could complete the restaurant’s BBQ Behemoth challenge. They give patrons 30 minutes to eat a massive sandwich topped with three pounds of meat, cheese, sauteed onions and coleslaw dripping with sauce. On the side you also have to eat one and a half pounds of fries.

Aresti said the restaurant was happy to have Conestoga Connected showcase their food.

“It’s great that the students get to complete a project,” he said. “It’s a win-win for everybody in this.”

Drury had never competed in a food challenge before he took on this show but he was determined to wolf down the mammoth meal. The first seven minutes flew by with cheers from the crowd providing encouragement. Drury quickly ate mouthfuls of meat but as the time passed, his determination waned and he could only consume one fry at a time. He ended up getting the “meat shakes,” but he kept his game face on and continued to plow through the food by telling himself, “Don’t laugh, ignore the crowd, don’t look at the plate.”

He wasn’t able to finish the entire sandwich or the fries and felt very bloated after eating as much as he could without puking but he is still excited to see what the other seven challenges will bring.

“I’m looking forward to the giant burger at Morty’s Pub. Burgers are my favourite and I can’t wait to test my abilities against what I hear is the biggest in town.” he said.

In addition to airing on Rogers cable, you can view the food challenges at www.somad.ca/conestogaconnected. If you want to cheer him on in person you can see where he will be eating next by visiting Conestoga Connected’s Facebook page and on Twitter at C_Connected.

“My hope for future challenges is obviously to win one, but also to learn and gain knowledge about many different kinds of foods and cultures as I go,” Drury said.