Chilli juice, chilli schnapps, chillis with the mother-in-law, Claus Pilgaard can’t get enough of the hot capsicum. The bearded Dane who goes by the name Chili Klaus has just released a book dedicated to his peppery indulgence, ‘Den er go´ i ørerne’ (It is good in the ears).
You’d think that tips on growing your own chillies would leave a Nordic country cold, but instead the comedian and self-proclaimed public figure has hit a picante nerve.
Millions tuning in
His Youtube channel boasts almost 3.5 million views. It would seem that people can't get enough of him eating spicy peppers with special guests since he started posting videos in 2006.
But if his Facebook page gives any clues, his actual target group is between 18-24 years old, and with 183,800 likes, it is no surprise that Chili Klaus managed to gather a thousand ballsy ones to Rådhuspladsen on June 5 to try a ‘Ghost Chili' (or Bhut Jolokia chilli if you're a connoisseur).
To put this beast into perspective, a common bell pepper registers at 0 on the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale, while a Tabasco pepper can reach a respectable 50,000. At over 1 million SHUs, however, a Ghost Chili is the (barely) edible equivalent of a thermonuclear bomb.
Klaus hasn't killed anyone yet
Luckily for Chili Klaus and his book-promotion, none of the participants detonated lethally (though many a meal came out the wrong way in the ensuing gastric agony).
Chilli peppers can cause death, according to Paul Bosland, a professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University who is the head of an organisation called the Chile Pepper Institute.
He cites a 1980 study that calculated that a person of average weight would need to eat just over 1.3kg of Bhut Jolokia chillies all at once to have a stab at death.
Smaller doses tend to cause tissue inflammation: a condition that expresses itself in what the contestants of the world's hottest chilli contest ‘Killer Curry’ describe as “chainsaws ripping through your insides”.
Two deaths in the last six years
However, an aspiring British chef died in 2008 after eating a "super hot" chilli sauce, and in 2013 an Australian man pronounced the words: “Jeez, this chilli pie is hot” at an eating contest only to pass away shortly afterwards.
Watch this video for another reason not to eat a chilli willy-nilly.