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#foodbeast FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss

This Is How It Felt Spending 60 Days With The FOODBEAST Editorial Championship Belt

If you’ve ever been a fan of professional wrestling, boxing, or the UFC, it’s easy to understand the magnitude and importance of a championship belt. It underscores the challenge of getting up and grinding, knowing the promise of success is not guaranteed.

Thanks to the creative minds here at FOODBEAST, in August 2016 we had an authentic, custom-made, heavyweight style championship belt to award the editorial staff member who earns the top story each month, based on page views.

The rules were simple, whoever’s story had the most page views by the end of the month, held the belt the following month.

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For the first two months of the belt’s inauguration, I was its proud holder. I’ve carried the belt everywhere for the past 60 days. From happy hours, to dinner dates, and back and forth from the office everyday. I discovered it’s pretty easy to get free dessert once people find out you’re a champion food blogger.

Shout out to the dream for becoming a reality. 📸:@izzy_serious

A photo posted by Evan Lancaster (@spacexwolf) on

Still, the stories that helped me reach back-to-back months as FOODBEAST’s Editorial Champion became important talking points in the conversations I had about what exactly this belt represented.

My reign as champ started when I wrote about America hating Chipotle, a topic that resonated heavily with our audience. However, there was a sense of astonishment when discussing Chipotle hatred in person, as some people seemed blown away that there was animosity toward Chipotle.  

In celebration of my first victory, my roommate Kevin and I went to Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, where Joel Amaro, OC Weekly’s 2015 bartender of the year basically runs the show. Joel knows everyone and put me on blast (in a good way) in front of the whole bar. It was pretty incredible to be treated like royalty, especially when it’s from one of Southern California’s most recognized mixologists. 

Joel also told me I couldn’t return without the belt from now on.

That same night at Pizzeria Ortica, I was followed around by a 10-year-old kid who gained enough courage to ask me if I was, “a UFC guy.” I was crushed by flattery and felt bad for not being more important. I let him hold the belt while mom and dad snapped photos, before I could offer permission.

In December, I broke the news on Liftware’s spill-proof spoon, one of the most innovative and life-changing products that can potentially help millions of people who suffer with physical immobility enjoy their meals with ease. Witnessing the initial reaction from people seeing a spill-proof spoon for the first time was nothing short of amazing.

One rainy night in January, Kevin, along with our friend Roy, took the belt to Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Our server, Kenny, made it adamantly clear that desert was, “on Kenny.” He also insisted on clearing our table before taking a photo of us, because he didn’t want to make it seem like Plan Check left their tables full of empty plates and glasses. We assured Kenny that it was all good. It just goes to show the level of service that followed the belt everywhere it went.

Personally, this belt has become more than a motivational tool and ironically began to symbolize my hard work as a journalist for the past decade. It’s been a tough road, but this seems like a notable milestone.

I made sure to document everything via Instagram, because who knows when I’ll be able to tell a story like this again.

Inaugural. Undefeated. Undisputed. January 2017 📸:cusmar8330

A photo posted by Evan Lancaster (@spacexwolf) on

Being able to explain that I earned the title of inaugural FOODBEAST Editorial World Champion, in back-to-back months is a high bar to set. I already know everyone on my team has accepted the challenge. 

 My job is to tell stories, which is usually a thankless job. While I may never be an ultimate fighter, or the next Muhammad Ali, but possessing this belt has helped me understand my potential as a writer and a professional. Most of all it has motivated my team to accomplish great things.

I won’t lie, I enjoyed the obnoxiousness of walking into an restaurant — or anywhere, really — knowing every single person’s head would turn and look at me as I stepped through the doors with an oversized, golden heavyweight belt hanging off my shoulder.

🏆📍

A photo posted by Evan Lancaster (@spacexwolf) on

For one reason or another, most people seemed a bit disappointed after discovering I was just a writer and not a fighter, but, I’ll be the first to tell you there’s no better feeling than someone asking you, “What’s up, Champ?” when they have no idea who you are, or what you do.

Currently fellow writer Peter Pham is the new Editorial Champion, but February is the shortest month of the year, so his collar should be getting tight already.

By Evan Lancaster

A journalist focusing on news and anything that's trending. Insists that cherry flavoring makes any soft drink better. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @ThatsThatFuego.

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