Austin-Area Scoutmaster Puts ‘Man Vs. Food’ To Shame In Ghost Chili Challenge

We already know that Austinites are a tremendously giving bunch, coming through in a pinch in the middle of winter or facing their biggest fears for charity. This Fredericksburg man, however, took it to a whole other level by sacrificing his palate, and quite possibly burning up his soul from his insides, for a good cause.

Troop 137 in Fredericksburg is experiencing a cash flow problem, which is how this whole weird episode got started. So, being the great guy that he is, Assistant Scoutmaster Johnny Fotschky decided to sacrifice himself to help the cause, staging a fundraiser that saw him devour 23 of the world’s hottest pepper.

Oh, and just for reference: the ghost chili pepper resides between 855,000–2,200,00 scoville units. That’s basically low-level pepper spray, which usually clocks in between 2,000,000-5,000,000 scoville units. Your typical jalapeño is no more than 10,000 scoville units. So naturally, people put these things in their mouths, because why not?

At least it’s fun to watch (if you dare):

Just to give you some context, “Man vs. Food” host Adam Richman barely managed to get three of these peppers down, and they were served on a burger. Chunky’s Burgers & More in San Antonio, which hosted Richman, is famous for it’s four-pepper combo burger, the “Four Hoursemen,” and they brag only four people have ever conquered it.

Even so, stacked side by side, the two men hardly compare. The visible pain Richman displays just polishing off a few of these things really puts Fotschky’s unbelievable toughness in context.

Eating that much heat has actual physical ramifications, which Medical Daily describes in no uncertain terms:

Although chilies are found in many dishes throughout the world, capsaicin is actually a neurotoxin and in large enough concentrations can cause seizures, heart attacks, and even death.

The hottest pepper in the world is the bhut jolokia chili pepper, also known as the ghost pepper, and according to Dr. Paul Bosland, the man who discovered it, enough of this pepper in a short period of time can surely kill you.

“Right now, as I’m filming this, it’s been 20 hours since Johnny consumed 23 ghost peppers and he’s still in bed with really, really bad stomach pains,” Scoutmaster Gayne Young said in the YouTube video. “Immediately after he consumed 23 ghost peppers, he had six Klondike bars, a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, a bottle of Mylanta, a half gallon of milk, lots of water, and he was very sick.”

It even spilled over to the rest of the guys involved with the video shoot.

“How bad were these peppers?” Young asked. “Well, not only did Fotschky get sick but my assistant Andrew and I, when we were filming and setting all this up, had to wear coverings over our face, nose, and mouth because they burn just breathing with these in the same room.”

So, how the heck did he manage to eat all those ghost peppers? Fotschky has more than a few tricks up his sleeve, as Young explained. “Johnny is a retired special forces vet and has the type of stomach that goes with such,” he told “He’s fine. He was actually sick in the video from the milk and ice cream! Not the peppers.”

“Johnny has a billy goat gut,” Young added. “He DRINKS hot sauce. Nothing bothers him. Well, bland food bothers him. He hates bland food.”

In spite of it all getting certified by Guinness, Fotschky did not end up establishing any new records. As far as we can tell, the key records for super-hot chili eating are held by Queens resident Wayne Algenio, who ate 22 Carolina Reaper peppers (the world’s absolute hottest) in 60 seconds, and by Togo resident Amedonou Kankue, who ate 10 ghost chili peppers in just under 20 seconds. Comparatively, Fotschky’s peppers were a little less hot than Algenio’s, even though he ate more overall, and he consumed them slower than Kankue.

Still, we think he deserves some kind of recognition — right? So, let’s make sure his efforts didn’t go to waste! You can donate to Scout Troop 137 via Paypal, or by contact Scoutmaster Young at [email protected] to see what they need for upcoming activities. As of Friday, January 6, they’ve raised $1,000, so keep up the great support and don’t forget to share this post! The scholarship money will help the scouts buy uniforms and go on camping trips.

As Scoutmaster Young says: “If a boy can’t afford a uniform or to go on a camp out… Johnny’s gut has them covered!”