Host Jeff Probst Reveals The Most Disgusting Food Challenge in ‘Survivor’ History

Survivor has been around for 38 seasons now, with Survivor: Edge of Extinction airing now on CBS. Every season, the game changes a little bit more — whether that means a chance to get back in the game, a new type of advantage or idol, or some other different twist, host Jeff Probst and the producers work hard to keep the game fresh and interesting.

However, there’s one aspect that’s been grossing out fans, contestants, and yes, even Probst himself for years — the food challenge.

Castaways are bound to get hungry while they’re out there living off of coconuts and rice, and exerting themselves in complex challenges every episode. That’s when Probst steps in with a little extra grub for the contestants.

Can you stomach it?

Jeff Probst
Jeff Probst | Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images

Survivor isn’t just a physical game, it’s also a mental one. Probst often points out that for castaways to wind up as the sole survivor, they need to do more than beat the elements — they need to beat themselves as well.

“I don’t have a formal background in psychology. But I do have a big interest — I’ve certainly been to a bit of therapy and read a lot of books (on it),” explained Probst. “I’m really fascinated by why we do the things we do, and I look at my own life that way too. I have my triggers too, and I often put myself into the game and say, ‘This would get me. My ego would get me here, or my insecurity get me here, or the need to be right would get me here,’ and look at where I would self-combust.”

As Probst points out, this can often be a big part of the social game too. However, the infamous eating challenge came around as a direct way for the show to challenge castaways’ mental fortitude. There’s nothing physically draining about eating a slug, but it takes an iron will to get past the initial disgust.

How far would Jeff go?

This does beg the question — would Probst himself ever participate in a food challenge? Probst loves to stir the pot, but fans have wondered whether or not he’d be able to stomach the nasty grub himself.

When asked, Probst had this to say, “There was a time… when I would have willingly participated in this challenge with the crew or against Mark Burnett. That time… has passed. It all looks gnarly.”

Probst goes on to explain that a big part of it is the mental aspect. “Anything small I think I could throw down the throat pretty quickly and because it goes down fast, I don’t have time to think about the fact that it’s an eyeball or a grub. But the chunks… the things you have to slowly chew. Bite by bite. Those are the ones that would get me. And the entire time you are chewing, you are being reminded of exactly what it is that you are chewing.”

Sounds like our fearless host might not be so fearless after all.

Eggs over hard

Balut | Ania Blazejewska via Getty

Over the years, Probst has served up a variety of nasty dishes to his castaways, including but not limited to pig intestines, giant wriggling grubs, and Jeff’s least favorite food — balut.

For those who aren’t familiar, balut is a Filipino street food consisting of a developing bird embryo, often mallard ducks, in the shell. The shell is removed and the embryo is then eaten. When asked, Probst said he absolutely could not eat balut.

“Those little heads, that tiny body, those light feathers. And the craziest part of all, those are sold in Asian supermarkets in the same manner we sell potato chips. On the end cap!”

It seems balut really freaks Probst out!