A packed tent watched brave souls taking on the world’s hottest chilli peppers on Saturday.

The Red Hot Chilli Competition, Hosted by Fire Island, was one of the highlights of the weekend’s Food and Drink Festival in the Villa Marina gardens.

An impressive six of the 12 competitors completed the eight-round challenge without the aid of milk, yoghurt or any support beyond the encouragement of the crowd.

They ate their way through a series of increasingly hot chillies, all grown at Red Mie farm in Orrisdale, culminating in the Carolina Reaper which is rated by Guinness World Records as the world’s hottest chilli pepper.

Among the competitors were some foolish enough to sign up on the day, veterans of the inaugural 2021 event and Peel lifeboat crew member Will Senior, who was raising money for the RNLI. Callum Petherick was first to finish the final challenge and was declared the 2023 champion.

Stuart Meade of Fire Island told the Independent:‘It was every bit as tough as any chilli competition that you’ll find anywhere in the world. What these competitors achieved is not easy but they all did incredibly well.

‘A massive thanks from us to everyone who came to support the event, and everyone who took part, particularly those who were doing it for charity.’

The competition will return at next year’s Food and Drink Festival. In the meantime, Mr Meade said, Fire Island intends to host other chilli competitions: ‘There’s a lot of plans in the pipeline that we can’t wait to share with everyone.’