Chef survives Gowanus Canal ice bucket challenge

Mean cuisine: The aggressively named Bed-stuy restaurant Do-or-Dine serves up chef Justin Warner’s take on traditional fare food with a twist.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

What a dump!

A fearless Bedford-Stuyvesant chef took he the so-called “Ice-Bucket Challenge” fund-raiser for Lou Gehrig’s Disease a disgusting step further when he survived a dousing of ice water drawn from the filthy Gowanus Canal — the only waterway in Brooklyn that is confirmed to have the clap.

“The Gowanus Canal is terrifying, sure, but I’m not really a germophobe,” said Justin Warner, who cooks at Do or Dine on Bedford Avenue between Quincy and Lexington streets. “I wanted to be really sensational but still get the point across that this is a horrible freaking disease that touches a lot of freaking lives.”

Warren said he too the Challenge, which has been making the rounds on social media, as celebrities, politicians, and even former presidents have been doused in ice water to raise money to find a cure to the disease also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, because his best friend’s father has the disease. And being from Brooklyn, he thought he’d ramp it up a notch.

He decided to make the water colder and much more disgusting than any of his doused pals by adding rotten fish to the mix. Salt water freezes at lower temperatures than fresh water, and because the Gowanus Canal is brackish — a mix of fresh and salt water (among other things) — the water was icier than most. To top it off, he dumped in dry ice, which caused the murky mixture to give off an appropriately witchy fog.

“I’m known for being intense and over the top,” Warner said. “People have been playing with the height of the water drop, but not really experimenting with the water or the ice.”

So far, Warren — who left his mouth open during part of the fetid deluge — has lived to tell the tale. He thoroughly cleaned himself and his clothes in the shower — and then cleaned the shower, leaving him clean as a whistle.

“I don’t smell putrid anymore,” he said.

Those who take part in the challenge must donate money or douse themselves in icy water, or both, before nominating several friends for the next round.

At last count the campaign had raised $31.5 million for Lou Gehrig’s Disease research, up nearly $10 million from the day before.

The Gowanus’ case of the clap was confirmed in 2007, when tests showed its waters contained the bacteria that causes gonorrhea.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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