The chickenman blew up in Philadelphia Sunday morning. Not in the way of the Bruce Springsteen song referencing a South Philly mafia hit, but, as we do here in this third year of pandemica, on social media.
A post on Twitter set off the chickenman mania. Retweeted more than 5,000 times, it contained a picture of an event flier.
“Come See Me Eat An Entire Rotisserie Chicken” the flier read, adding that Nov. 6 would be the 40th consecutive day of said rotisserie chicken eating, to be celebrated at noon “on that abandoned pier by Walmart.”
There were photos but no name. No contact information. No specifics about which pier or which Walmart, because for real, are you even from Philly if you don’t know?
Alexander Tominsky knows. He is the chickenman. He is a 31-year-old server at Barclay Prime who has lived in Philadelphia for eight years. He goes by “Smooth Recess” on Twitter, where he has been documenting his chicken-eating ways since Oct. 9, when he was on Day 11 of his rotisserie journey. Most of the photos are taken at work, or at The Frosted Mug, the beer garden at the ACME in South Philly. He brings his own fork and knife.
When we talked to him Sunday afternoon, he had just finished his daily fowl, and shared his thoughts on fame, nutrition, and why this is in the running for most
stupid Philadelphia event of all time.
[Ed note: Billy Penn is not affiliated with said event and cannot vouch for its authenticity or even existence.]
We want to know how you got started in all this, and why?
I don’t know how many questions I’ll answer now. I’ll be more open after the event, because there’s a lot of pressure on me, on that pier at Walmart. If it’s cold outside, or bad weather, that chicken could really be drying out, and a challenge to finish.
Do you have a plan?
I definitely have techniques to get me through the whole chicken a lot quicker. You’ve got to start with the white meat, because it’s drier. And I break the skin up to help supplement through the process, to add some taste.
Why do this?
It seemed like the right thing to do.
How did it get started?
I’m not sure how it started. It’s hard to understand how it manifested.
OK. So is this all you eat in a day?
Sometimes I have a little yogurt for breakfast. Sometimes I have a beer for dinner. It keeps me pretty full.
So no vegetables?
I don’t want to die. Sometimes I’ll have a little tater tots, or the kitchen will give me a dollop of sauce. I have vegetables. If you look through the photos on Twitter, I bought a two and a half-pound carrot, and that got me through three days.
Did you cook it?
It was raw. Sometimes I’ll have a radish or a head of broccoli.
What does your wife think of all this?
I think she was pretty confused to start and most people are still confused. She’s a great supporter, sometimes she’ll text me and say, “How was the chicken?”
People want to know where you get your chicken?
I always get the most plain chicken possible. I don’t know why, other than I enjoy torturing myself. I’ve gone to different places, but I go to Rittenhouse Market a lot because it’s right near where I work and the staff is nice and the chicken is barely seasoned.
Many commenters wanted to know if you’ve tried a Costco chicken?
I haven’t, I don’t have a membership. But if someone brings me one I’m happy to try it.
A number of people said they planned to come and see your chicken finale. Why?
I’ve had long stretches of being tortured and people can relate. The City of Philadelphia has had a lot of pain, but it’s a city with a lot of perseverance. That’s what makes this city very special.
Why make this a public event?
It’s a powerful thing I’m doing and it only felt right to share it.
After your pier meal, are you done with your daily rotisserie chicken?
At this point, I hate chicken.