Speed eater Leah Shutkever holds a staggering 18 records, making her one of the most successful competitive eaters in Guinness World Records history.
However, she has no plans to stop there. Leah is on a mission to break 20 records before the end of 2020.
"My biggest goal in 2020 was to hit 20 Guinness World Records titles," she explained.
"There’s been so much going on and everyone’s been a little disheartened and I wanted to create a light at the end of my own tunnel. It’s an achievement that will create content and entertainment.
"We’re very close and I’m very excited, so fingers crossed we will get there!"
All the records Leah has broken so far in 2020:
- 16 May 2020 - most jam doughnuts eaten in three minutes: 10
- 13 June 2020 - fastest time to drink one litre of gravy: 1 min 4.9 seconds
- 13 June 2020 - most tomatoes eaten in one minute: 8
- 28 June 2020 - most sausages swallowed in one minute: 12
- 19 August 2020 - fastest time to eat 80 g of watercress: 45.26 seconds
- 19 August 2020 - most spring rolls eaten in one minute: 301 grams
- 19 August 2020 - most lasagne eaten in 30 seconds: 380 g
- 23 August 2020 - fastest time to eat a cucumber: 27.16 seconds
- 17 September 2020 - most mini gherkins/pickles eaten in one minute: 23
- 27 September 2020 - most hot cross buns eaten in three minutes: 6
- 21 October 2020 - fastest time to eat a Chocolate Orange: 57.14 seconds
- 21 October 2020 - most marshmallows eaten in one minute (no hands): 20
- 9 November 2020 - most chocolate truffles eaten in one minute (no hands): 12
Leah first got into speed eating by chance in 2013 at 23 years old, after her brother challenged her to an eating challenge at a local restaurant.
"I didn’t have a clue how I was going to do. Since then, I’ve really gotten a hunger for it."
Despite getting into speed eating in 2013, Leah’s first official record title was in May 2019, for the fastest time to eat three pickled eggs (7.80 seconds).
"I became totally obsessed about being featured [in the Guinness World Records book] since I saw LA Beast as a centrefold with his multiple records, that really inspired me!"
Since then Leah’s gone onto break speed eating records for burritos, muffins, doughnuts, lasagne and even watercress, and in the process got her wish of being featured in the Guinness World Records book.
For one of her most recent records, most marshmallows eaten in one minute (no hands) she actually took one of LA Beast's records from him.
"This was a huge win. The challenge was that I was taking on LA beast. He set the record at 19 and I felt like I had to get it!"
Although she makes it looks easy, speed eating is no easy feat and comes with various challenges.
For example, Leah initially failed the record for the most jam doughnuts eaten in three minutes - because she kept licking her lips.
"I tried this record off camera and failed. Twice. I ended up licking my lips and disqualifying myself. I had to have my witnesses repeat over and over again 'don't lick your lips'!"
It takes lots of practice to perfect your speed eating technique - and Leah's ability to simultaneously chew and swallow has intrigued many of Leah's viewers!
"I don’t know why people find such fascination in it, but it’s something to develop quite early on in competitive eating, especially when doing Guinness World Records titles," Leah explained.
"You learn that it wastes time to chew!"
Leah started a YouTube channel three years ago to document her speed eating victories and over time, her accumulation of record titles. She now has just under 250,000 subscribers.
"I just want to create content. I’m at the point in my life where I’m really feeling a lot of fulfilment from the engagement with my audiences."
"As long as people are happy watching me do competitive eating challenges, I will keep doing them and keep staying healthy and keep staying active while doing them."
Despite eating such huge servings of food, Leah is very dedicated to staying fit and healthy.
"Being fit helps with recovery from eating a huge food challenge... especially for your mental health it’s just super important."
"I think the fascination with remaining in fairly good shape and also being able to... undertake these huge eating feats is part of the appeal of food challenges and competitive eating."
Despite now being a successful YouTuber and competitive eater, Leah used to struggle with her confidence when she was younger.
"I did struggle growing up with being bullied at school, I was made to feel like a real outcast."
"Overcoming struggles from when I was a teenager has been tough, I’ve been on a real journey over the last 10 or 15 years.
"When you set goals and achieve them, your confidence grows and I think that was just a massive turning point in my life."
And achieve goals she has. As well as securing various record titles and smashing eating challenges across the country, one of Leah's self-proclaimed career peaks was meeting strongman and fellow Guinness World Records holder Eddie Hall.
"I had the pleasure of working with the strongman himself Mr Eddie Hall. I really loved working with Eddie, he’s such a humble guy who’s really fun to work with."
"Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to work together again in the future where I can teach him to eat!"
As a female in a very male dominated area, Leah definitely stands out in the speed eating world.
"Being a woman in the competitive eating space is definitely rewarding."
"I feel like because I’m a woman I almost get more stripes and I don’t feel that it’s fair. I’d love to be put on a level playing field with my male counterparts."
Leah is often referred to as the UK's number one female competitive eater - and her record titles certainly help prove that she's a cut above the rest. However, in the UK there is no definitive speed eating or competitive eating ranking.
"I don’t know that we’ll ever have like an all-star competitive eating match in the UK, I feel like it’s all down to perspective... there are many variables to how to rank people."
"If I’m thought of as being number one in the UK I’m grateful for it, and if not, that’s fine too, each to their own."
Either way, Leah is certainly hugely accomplished in her field.