This is just one of our Audible Original Podcasts...

Free for members! Discover more podcasts and short listens, only available from Audible.

Get Your Free Audiobook

It Burns

The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli
Narrated by: Marc Fennell
Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

Non-member price: $12.98

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Nominated for the 2019 Rose D’Or award for Audio Entertainment

Please note: contains mature themes and graphic imagery.

Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility). 

It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record. In the process of charting the scandal-plagued race to breed the world’s hottest chilli, the audio documentary lifts the lid on the subculture of ‘Chilli-heads’, hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in chilli eating and breeding competitions. 

The internet is filled with videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of chilli. The docu-series asks: what motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavour? At what point does this stop being cuisine and start being an endurance sport? 

This humorous series shows that all this has never really been about chilli. It’s been about how people use pain to shape themselves, define themselves and make themselves feel alive.

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 5 episodes to your Library now.

©2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd. (P)2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"Entertaining." (Guardian)

"A cheerful Aussie version of Louis Theroux, [Marc] roams around the globe and digs deeper and deeper into a subculture that, while merely a tad eccentric on the surface, conceals some much murkier goings-on." (Times T2)

"If Pumping Iron had been about scoffing scotch bonnets." (Esquire)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    63
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    59
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    57
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Addictive and very entertaining!

Oh Mark how I miss your voice on Triple J!
This audible was just so incredible, clever and so informative. It also has a real heart about it also. Absolutely loved it!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not what I was expecting!

I thought I knew what to expect from a podcast about chilli eating, but I truly had no idea how deep the rabbit hole could go! Great balance of unexpected facts, complex (and sometimes whacky) characters and Marc's personal story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hot hot hot!

I've always been a fan of Marc Fennell's wicked sense of humour and I like the way he becomes part of the story in an authentic way. It makes this is very entertaining and easy-to-listen podcast that I finished in one weekend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

This was not what I expected and I am so glad I listened. Do yourself a favour and give it a go!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Turning up the heat on chilies

I don't eat chilies but this looks at society in brand new angle. It takes s look at the society in a whole new way, metaphorical and with realism that is a surprise. ITS NOT ONLY ABOUT THE CHILIES ITS SO MUCH MORE. Highly recommended. 10/10

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hot diggity I loved this!

I’ll freely admit to having a girl crush on Marc for years. He is an amazing storyteller. It Burns is hands down one of my favourite podcasts ever.
Do I care about chillies? Not really
Am I now fascinated by chillies? Abso -bloody-lutely!
Marc inspires me to be a better storyteller no matter what the subject matter.
Congrats to Marc and the production team.
More please!
Shelly

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Marc delivers beautifully

loved this podcast! thank you Mr. Fennell. Twists and turns throughout the episodes loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

thought provoking

unreal .. and geniune stories.. not what I thought when I first start listening. Mark your story was honest and relatable well done

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So entertaining

I was so close to not downloading this omg I would have been missing out, have had this audible account for about 2-3 years now and this is definitely in top five listens of anything I have so far. Loved the narration and the content both, amusing light listening while still educational- highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stellar listen!

Interesting how the podcast uses chilli culture as a window into the human condition - what motivates us, how we interact with pain and relate to other people. You quickly realise that chilli heads are much more complex and nuanced than you might imagine. Was a riveting story!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for pixie
  • pixie
  • 26-11-2019

Absolutely (& admittedly unexpectedly) fascinating...

It’s possible I would now listen to just about anything that has Marc Fennel’s name on it. I picked this title on a whim but actually it’s been extremely well put together, and Marc narrates it in a very natural, warm way that at times, made me laugh just because he clearly has a funny, warm personality. The story tiptoes carefully into unexpected and genuinely interesting territory, and then starts asking some very candid questions. Please Audible, ask him to do more stuff because I’ll be recommending this to anyone who’ll listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 20-11-2019

better than I thought it would be

brilliant narrator, interesting interviews and funny stories. A must listen if you like hot sauce

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom V
  • Tom V
  • 04-10-2019

Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this so much!

Was recommended by an Australian colleague of mine. A really interesting look at a subculture I’d never considered! Well worth a listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-2019

Great Documentary

If you like you're chillies then this is definitely one to listen to. Very well presented with some disturbing facts about competing to grow the hottest chilli

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lukx
  • Lukx
  • 18-09-2019

wow not what you are expecting

it's not what you are expecting . very well written and maid. well worth to lissen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for G
  • G
  • 26-08-2019

Enjoyed every second of it

Once again Marc Fennell enlightens the world with his inquisitive and thought provoking nature. In almost every interview I've seen him give the interviewee will respond with a "that's a really good question". Marc has a calming way of telling stories, and this one about chilis is so unsuspecting, yet so gripping and enjoyable to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Susanne Kirwan
  • Susanne Kirwan
  • 22-08-2019

Unexpected at every turn. an excellent piece!

Excellent blending of a good story, some facts and a truly creative narrative. I listened to it on a whim and was enthralled.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Karen Bull
  • Karen Bull
  • 15-08-2019

Too hot to handle?

this is funny. I love spicy food so I'm finding it very interesting hearing about the hottest jalapeños .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for loonyspook
  • loonyspook
  • 02-08-2019

really enjoyed the dark side of Chilis

really interesting intrigue I'm the world of idiots and addicts. great backstory from the author

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for PETER S WARING
  • PETER S WARING
  • 05-12-2019

Great Listen

Mark Fennell is such a natural host. I'm not at all interested in peppers but this was addictive.