New York man sets world record for eating at most Michelin-starred restaurants in a day
(CNN) – A New York man has set a world record for eating at the most Michelin-starred restaurants in a single day.
Eric Finkelstein, 34, embarked on a mission to eat at 18 of the popular restaurants within a 24-hour period in October.
It took the healthcare IT consultant 14 months to plan his bizarre feat, not least because he had to secure bookings at many of the city’s top establishments.
“The planning was more than half the challenge, just getting the restaurants to agree to do it and then finding a logical path that worked,” he told CNN in a phone interview Tuesday.
The idea, which was officially recognized by Guinness World Records (GWR) last month, came to him during the pandemic when he left the city.
The dish called “Everything Brioche” in Red Paper Clip was one of his favorites.
After temporarily returning to 2021, Finkelstein compiled a list of the top spots he planned to eat. He also joined an online food group, where he first heard about the challenge.
With two other world records under his belt — both related to table tennis, a sport in which he previously competed — his interest was immediately piqued.
“I loved the idea,” he told GWR. “It’s combined my loves of eating interesting food, working towards a checklist and working towards something.”
Completion of the challenge
Finkelstein initially contacted more than 80 restaurants, but only 10 responded. Unfortunately, four of them lost their star when the Michelin Guide announced its selection for 2022 – just 20 days before its official attempt.
He frantically contacted other restaurants and luckily managed to secure enough reservations for his official attempt on October 26.
The day started with a $36 grilled avocado salad at Le Pavillon in Midtown. This was followed by caviar, blini and creme fraiche for $25 at Caviar Russe.
Other highlights included grilled scallops dressed with grapefruit and chrysanthemum at Tuome; a $15 bowl of berries in Aquavit; a $24 steak tartare at Oiji Mi; and oysters for $26 at The Modern.
His last bite was in Noda, where he sampled a chawanmushi uni- (sea urchin) and caviar.
The total bill came to $494, not including tax and tip. Finkelstein estimated that the Michelin-starred feast totaled about 5,000 calories and was completed in 11 hours.
The rules meant Finkelstein could only walk or take public transportation between restaurants.
He told CNN why his nickname growing up was “the finisher” for his ability to clean up everyone’s meals. But this was a different league, he said.
“I got really fed up,” he told CNN. “Definitely two-thirds through I started to get a little nervous about my appetite. The next day I ate almost nothing,” he laughed.
I made other records
Finkelstein’s previous records are for longest ping pong serve (51 feet 1 inch) and largest ping pong ball mosaic, shared with two friends.
He told CNN that in 2019 he was part of an unsuccessful attempt to break the record for the most people performing a Dragon Ball Kamehameha – a move inspired by the popular anime series.
He added that in 2021 he became the first person to visit every Citi Bike station in New York.
“I tried for other things that weren’t official world records,” Finkelstein said. “When Pokemon Go was a fad, I took a trip around the world hoping to be the first person to catch regionally released pokemon. Unfortunately someone else beat me to it by two weeks.”
Finkelstein at Noda, which he considered to be his favorite overall experience.
Finkelstein hopes to attempt his next record with his girlfriend, but is tight-lipped about the concept.
“As a kid, my parents gave me this book every year with the top 10 of everything, and I got really into them,” he told CNN. “But it wasn’t until my late twenties that I tried to set any records.
“I liked things that involved pranks in college, so I thought about what I could do as a grown-up version to continue being a kid.”