Joey Chestnut's gluttonous feat broke his record of 18.5 waffles set at last year's competition, the Waffle House restaurant chain said in a release.
The 22-year-old San Jose, Calif., college student is ranked second in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, behind Takeru "the Tsunami" Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Waffle House said Chestnut faced a strong challenge from Sonya Thomas, a 100-pound Virginia woman who holds 27 world titles. She ate 21 waffles, while Chip Simpson, a rising rookie on the eating circuit, consumed 18.
Chestnut collected $5,000 for his win and the remaining $2,500 in prizes was split among Thomas and Simpson, the Waffle House said.