Computer science teacher participates in online food challenges

Ava McGuire and Elle Moulder

At the onset of COVID-19, BV computer science teacher TJ Slade started exhibiting his love of gaming on the popular streaming service, Twitch. Almost a year later, he introduced food challenges to his channel.

“[When] you are a good streamer, you’re either really funny, really good at a video game or you have something unique,” Slade said. “I would say I’m alright at video games, and I’m alright at being funny — the food challenges are something unique.”

Slade streams as a way to provide entertainment and interact with his students, friends and family. For Slade, also known as his Twitch handle, mrSladerade, streaming also provides the opportunity to meet new people.

“If students want to come watch or they want to enjoy being a part of the community, then [they should] feel free to, it’s completely separate from my school environment,” Slade said. “It’s just kind of what I do in my free time that I enjoy a lot.”

Slade participates in various food challenges such as The Power Hour Challenge, the Blazing Challenge, eating six bags of popcorn in an hour, and competing against his dad in the Taco Bell Challenge.

“I really like popcorn. I eat a bag every night, so I tried to do six bags of popcorn in one hour,” Slade said.

“The Power Hour Challenge required a Big Mac, large fry and 20-piece chicken nugget from McDonald’s; a 20-piece chicken nugget from Chick-Fil-A, a Chick-Fil-A sandwich, [and a large fry]; a Wendy’s, frosty; and Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell; all in an hour,” Slade said.

After Slade streamed The Power Hour Challenge he realized that food challenge streaming was his way to differentiate himself and that food challenges were something he genuinely enjoyed doing and wanted to continue in the future.

For future streams, Slade hopes to brave the World’s Hottest Chip Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge and the Gallon Challenge. Slade would like to find a way to incorporate his love of shrimp into his food challenge streaming as well.

“I do a shrimp boil with my in-laws every Labor Day, and usually I eat a ton of shrimp there,” Slade said. “I think I counted about 80 shrimp that I ate in one sitting. Moving that to a stream [is] something that could easily be done.”

Slade hopes to start a YouTube channel for his food challenges.

“Individuals can go and watch just the highlights [on YouTube] because I don’t know if anybody wants to sit there for an hour to [watch] the Power Hour challenge [on Twitch],” Slade said. “That is something that will be up in the future.”

The overall goal of mrSladerade is to create a positive space where people can find amusement and connect to Slade in a way that isn’t “Mr. Slade and students.”

“Anybody can join — it’s not like, ‘Oh, if you’re a student, you can’t watch’, because again, I want to build a community of people who enjoy having fun and enjoy, I guess, me being in pain depending on the challenge,” Slade said. “[It is] something that is open to all.”