For the second time in three years, one of Pullman’s own is the fastest Subway sandwich maker in the world.
The title belongs to Sara Tiegs, the manager of the Main Street Subway in Pullman, who was announced the 2019 Subway Global Sub Jammers Champion on Aug. 9. She beat contestants from seven countries.
The competition challenges contestants to make a turkey sandwich neatly and correctly as fast as possible in front of a judge. Tiegs completed her sandwich in 49.85 seconds during this year’s competition in Toronto, which earned her a $6,000 cash prize and a trophy.
Tiegs won the competition in 2017 and finished in second place in 2018. She plans to compete again next year, and will likely face the Florida woman who bested her in 2018 but was not available to compete this year.
“I foresee next year’s competition being very fierce,” she said.
Despite their rivalry, the two Subway employees became friends through the competition and chat with each other through Facebook, Tiegs said.
She said friends and family were excited to hear she won the first place prize and told her they knew she would bring the title back to Pullman.
Tiegs said becoming the Subway Global Sub Jammers Champion became her life goal after she first entered the contest in 2007, when her boss encouraged her to give it a try.
Tiegs said she is a very competitive person by nature and despite finishing 32nd that first year, she was instantly hooked. According to a Subway news release, Tiegs has competed 11 times and earned a top-10 finish in all but one of those competitions.
This year, the judges added a twist to the criteria. Tiegs said a judge would stand in front of her and she would have to treat him like a Subway customer. That meant not only making the sandwich as fast as possible, but greeting him, asking him questions, thanking him and handing him the receipt.
Tiegs said her regular workload alone provides her enough opportunities to practice. Through catering and serving customers who walk into the restaurant, she is used to making a lot of sandwiches quickly. Sometimes, she will ask her employees to time her when she is putting together a sandwich.
Tiegs started working at Subway while she was attending the University of Idaho and worked her way up to manager. In a few years, she and her husband, Nathaniel Tiegs, hope to be the owners of the Subways in Pullman and Colfax.
Tiegs said it takes a special type of person to work in fast food, and she enjoys the connections she has made with customers, many of whom have become regulars.
“I love what I do and I love the customers,” she Tiegs said.
Since winning in 2017, Tiegs said customers and their children will recognize her at the restaurant and ask her how fast she could make their order.
While Tiegs did not want to give away all her secrets, she did reveal one clue into how to make a sandwich at record speed.
“It’s how you fold the turkey,” she said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.