Cape Gazette

Steppin' Up To The Plate

Chef Hari takes on six melons and wins...sort of

By The Rehoboth Foodie | Sep 12, 2013
Photo by: Foodie Chef Hari VS. The Watermelon: Choppin’, chompin’ and cheerin’ for a good cause.

It was a fight to the finish last week at a(MUSE.) restaurant! Award-winning chef and restaurateur Hari Cameron challenged the venerable watermelon to a duel; betting that he could eat … well, a whole lot of them in an hour. It was all in the name of his favorite charity, Autism Delaware, and the concept was simple: Fans and onlookers pledged a donation for every melon consumed, so the more Hari could eat (and keep down – at least that was the plan) the more that he could donate to the charity.

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The hubris was palpable as challenger Cameron did deep-breathing exercises and centered himself yoga-style for the crimson onslaught. In fact, he drank nothing but water the day before (though there were rumors of indiscretion at a place we’ll only refer to as “Burger King” to protect Hari’s reputation). No matter. He was primed for combat.

The melons were donated by Hari’s friend Antoine from Laurel, DE and Tim Bell from Community Organics in Greenwood. The striped spheres were stacked cannonball-style, quietly mocking Cameron as zero-hour approached.

Hari’s loved ones had secured a team of medical professionals; well, a(MUSE.) server Jamie Knapp, attractively clad for the event in full nurse regalia. Luckily, she’s an actual nurse! She stepped out of character a bit as the official melon cutter, brandishing a four-foot long samurai sword. It was like being at a Gallagher concert, but without the raincoats and pricy tickets.

Royalty was also in attendance (crown and all!) in the form of Chelsey Procino, Mar-Del Watermelon Association’s 2013 Watermelon Queen. As luck would have it, Chelsea is majoring in nursing, so she was available to step in had Jamie been unable to fulfill the duties of her office.

The time arrived. Jamie held the sword high over her head in true “Dexter” fashion; dividing melon #1 precisely in half. Hari ate. Jamie sliced. He ate some more. The crowd cheered. Jamie chopped. Hari gobbled. The crowd chanted. Red stuff was all over the place. At melon #5, Cameron began to slow down, and just as he finished melon #6 … let’s just say that nature took its course. Fortunately there was a trash can right next to the stage.

Of course we’re just talking about a whole lot of water here, so the chef recovered quickly amidst cheering, back-slapping and payin’ up. Over $3000 was collected for Autism Delaware. Inexplicably, Hari is already planning next year’s event.

The Rehoboth Foodie is the author of the popular iPhone and Android travel app, Rehoboth In My Pocket. Arrive as a Visitor, Live Like a Local! Contact at

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