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  • Summary

  • Winner of the Best Audio Program at the 2019 James Beard Awards

    Silver winner of the Best Documentary Podcast Trophy at the 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards

    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.
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Episodes
  • Ep. 1: Some Like it Hot

    May 9 2019

    Marc Fennell’s quest to find the world’s hottest chilli begins in the middle of a tropical storm in Arizona while grown men and women weep before him. Which seems normal, right? In this episode Marc finds himself drawn into an international dispute and has a euphoric chilli-fuelled epiphany on a New South Wales freeway.

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    33 mins
  • Ep. 2: Sgt. Pepper

    May 9 2019

    In this chapter Marc travels to the Mexico border to meet the man who accidentally kick started a race to breed super-hot peppers. But does the Carolina Reaper - the world’s current record holder - really deserve it’s title? Has someone cheated?

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    30 mins
  • Ep. 3: Bad Seeds

    May 9 2019

    No other mammal on Earth is dumb enough to eat chillies - except humans. The internet is filled with astonishing videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of a chilli. It’s a global gastro-masochist obsession. In this chapter one of the world’s leading chillheads exposes a life turned inside out by tragedy.

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    32 mins

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What listeners say about It Burns

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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A great insight into the crazy world of chillies

Loved the story, but also Marc was entertaining and great interviewer, if you are interested in the chilli world, a great listen

2 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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Marc delivers beautifully

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

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thought provoking

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

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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!

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I need more!

Loved it. Marc is awesome! Music is spot on. Please make more like this and Nut Job. Felt seriously disappointed when it finished.

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Great Story

Marc Fennell really is a great story teller. This podcast gives insight into the different worlds surrounding chillies.

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hot Hot hot

Amazing how Marc makes such an interesting story from unlikely topics! Fantastic listen, thoroughly enjoyed

1 person found this helpful

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  • 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

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-12-2019

I dare you to listen

A fascinating adventure into one of the worlds most potent ingredients. Brilliantly presented and at times too hot to hear.

4 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • 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 person found this helpful

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  • 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 person found this helpful

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  • 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 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 person found this helpful

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  • 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 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-10-2020

Hot stuff

light and illuminating investigation. Really explored the amount of passion driven by one food and in it's influence.

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  • Rachel
  • 10-09-2020

Facinating

a real a really good read ,an amazing account of how how something so simple can cause so many problems 🤭

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.