A Millbury woman’s seemingly bottomless stomach won her a T-shirt as she annihilated one giant plate of pasta and a pile of meat last week at a Worcester restaurant.
“I don’t eat to live, I live to eat,” Renne Bombredi-Juli told MassLive Monday. “I’m such a foodie.”
Last week, Bombredi-Juli became the first woman to complete the “CONQUER THE AVALANCHE” challenge at Rosalina’s Kitchen in Worcester, according to the restaurant.
The meal was a 4-pound parmesan dish layered with chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, meatballs, sausage, bacon, mozzarella cheese and pasta topped with red sauce or “gravy.”
Initially, Bombredi-Juli wasn’t interested in taking up the challenge when she walked into Rosalina’s with her brother on July 7. But after seeing a group of men devour a deep-dished pizza, the 58-year-old Millbury resident wanted to toss her hat in the culinary ring.
At first, she intended to keep the challenge a secret from her brother. But it wasn’t long before Bombredi-Juli let the cat out of the bag. Although her brother doubted her ability to chow down a monster-sized parmesan dish, Bombredi-Juli was determined.
But once Angela Padavano, one of Rosalina’s owners, brought in the “Avalanche,” reality started to kick in for Bombredi-Juli.
“I looked at it and I thought to myself, ‘Why are you doing this to yourself?’” Bombredi-Juli said. “It’s so hot in here. You didn’t do anything to prep yourself. You just took on this silly challenge that Angela said on Facebook.”
Padavano started the “CONQUER THE AVALANCHE” in 2021 as a way to drive more business into her restaurant. If patrons can eat the whole parmesan dish in one sitting, they are rewarded with a T-shirt that reads, “I Conquered the Avalanche.”
Since Padavano began posting photos of customers taking the challenge on Facebook, a wash of new patrons have been pouring into her restaurant, eager to take on the “Avalanche.” While some people fail to complete the challenge, others leave with very full stomachs and empty plates, and on July 7, Bombredi-Juli was one of them.
After cutting up the bacon and “cantaloupe-sized” meatball, she chomped down on the dish, she said.
“I just kept a really steady pace,” Bombredi-Juli said. “It was like running a marathon almost. But it really helped that the flavor is outstanding.”
The “Avalanche” winner went on to describe the dish’s gravy as “freeing,” an attribute that helped her get through the meal.
As if eating the pile of meat and pasta wasn’t enough, Bombredi-Juli went beyond the challenge’s demands and took two pieces of bread to sop up all the leftover sauce on the dish and ate that, too.
“So not only did she eat the challenge, she actually ate more,” Padavano said.
Her brother, in complete awe over the act of gluttony, shot her a look of disgust … and pride, she said.
“He said ‘I can’t help, but I have to pay for your dinner,’” Bombredi-Juli said. “So not only did I get a free meal but I got my free T-shirt – which was the goal.”
According to the restaurant’s online menu, the dish costs $30.
Usually, the Avalanche challenge is won by large men, said Padavano. However, Bombredi-Juli, who the owner described as rather small, devoured the whole meal in less than 30 minutes.
Bombredi-Juli’s reign as the first and only female Avalanche finisher was short-lived, however, as another woman – Deborah Hollett of Worcester – has already since claimed victory over the food challenge, according to the restaurant’s Facebook post.
The day after Bombredi-Juli defeated the challenge, she found herself answering calls from family and friends asking if she was OK. Her response?
“I said, ‘Excuse me. You’re interrupting my breakfast. I’m in the middle of eating now.’”
Rosalina’s Kitchen is located at 83 Hamilton St. in Worcester.