How ‘Epic Meal Time’ Improvised Their Way to 5M Subs & 3 Channels

/ Jun 25, 2013

EMT All Team (2)

Nothing’s more synonymous right now with drunken debauchery, heapings of bacon, and ridiculous calorie counts than Epic Meal Time. Six Canadians have turned a friend’s diet cheat day into over 5 million YouTube subscribers, three channels, and their own branded line of clothes and cooking materials with little more than some improvisation and a whole bunch of fast food.

Feast for the Eyes

Back in October of 2010, Alex Perrault, “Muscles Glasses,” began work as a personal trainer and was combining working out six days a week with a healthy diet. But show host Harley Morenstein walked him through his first break from his diet with a gargantuan order from the local Wendy’s and filmed the fast-food feast. The success of that video led to the first episode of Epic Meal Time, “Fast Food Pizza” where the crew baked tacos, burgers, McNuggets and more into a pizza. Harley remembers, “As soon as the first episode passed 120,000 views, I had enough YouTube know-how at that point — you know, creating six horrible shows that had failed miserably — to realize that this was a good starting point, a good foundation to continue making videos consistently.”

They’ve released a new video on nearly every Tuesday since, while also expanding into a “Chopped”-inspired “Epic Chef” cooking competition (hopefully returning for a second season soon) and a how-to cooking show called “Handle It.”

But before there was Epic Meal Time the business powerhouse produced with Collective Digital Studio, Epic Meal Time had to define itself. “The videos came first, the views came first,” says Morenstein. Even in the second episode, the group finished filming and wondered, “How do we end this?” So Morenstein offered, “I know, next time we eat a tiger. So people subscribe. It was kind of meant to have people subscribe — like, ‘Shit, I gotta tune in next week when he eats a tiger.’” The more Epic Meal Time grows, the more it seems like that quick and clever thinking is essential to the whole process.

It also requires a healthy helping of confidence: “We never consult anyone except just ourselves,” says Morenstein, pointing out that professional chefs have “probably cooked this as many times as we have — never. So we just figure it out.” The crew is always shocked to receive developed liquor-based sauces and recipes from fans since Team Cuisine, chefs Josh “Epic Mook” Elkin and Ameer “Prince Atari” Atari, have “just been dumping liquor into our food.”

That confidence doesn’t always work out, though: “I personally don’t like turtles — which we’ve cooked before. A couple of guys don’t like chicken hearts. So we’re, you know, figuring out tastes and stuff as we go along, finding our limits and whatnot,” says Morenstein. In his mind, Team Cuisine deserves their “Handle It” channel for both that daring and for their expertise: “I really think about it, they’re the number one online chefs in the world, and they didn’t know anything about cooking a couple years ago. Now we’ve been consolidating all of these recipes and putting them in a cookbook, and it’s like, ‘Hey,  I don’t know anything about cooking but I sell a cookbook, so anyone in the world can do what they want if they put their heart to it.’”

Dave “Cousin Dave” Heuff also frequently hosts the “Handle It” channel. Morenstein notes, “the first couple eighty episodes of Epic Meal Time were edited by me and I totally showed [Cousin Dave] how to edit; now he has a broader knowledge of editing software than I do — Final Cut, Premiere Pro.” Reflecting on on the group’s efforts, he adds, “We’re trying out new things, trying a lot of fun things. We kind of, at this moment, have a great responsibility with our channel to educate a lot of people and keep the attitude epic.”

Harley

Financial Success

Needless to say, viewership has since expanded millionfold and Epic Meal Time has responded in kind. “We built up the business piece by piece, from just starting with t-shirts to going further into apps and getting better ad sales,” summarized Morenstein. The Epic Meal Time cookware is currently sold out, but “We bank a lot on our merchandise. Our cookbook has 24 recipes in it. We have about 170 recipes at this moment, so we’re already writing the next cookbook. We have a lot of drink recipes; we’re writing the next drink-book. We’re writing some songs. Ancient love songs. We’ve contracted some people to create songs themed with Epic Meal Time, one of which we made into music video.”

That many recipes also means they’ve hit a groove. Morenstein shrugs off the difference between him and his onscreen persona as habit: “Once I’m on Epic Meal Time in the kitchen, the bacon’s cooking and the liquor’s flowing, that’s just a little inspiring to me.” Sadly, those same weekly habits have affected his love of Jack Daniel’s, giving it “like a Monday-morning taste now” that’s led to primarily Jameson and some other liquors.

So a long history of making things up as they go along combined with tried-and-true standards gives them a lot of wiggle room. Morenstein points out that “We don’t film every single day. We fill up days which we dedicate to programming.” Though “we never have an Epic Meal Time made two months before,” Morenstein explains that while the group usually plans meals “about two or three months in advance,” it does not follow a strict schedule since “we still like it to be somewhat relevant to what’s going on at that time.”

The Future

When you’re dealing with a man who eats items with hundreds of thousands of calories for a living, the easy joke is that he obviously has a lot on his plate. But outside the kitchen, Morenstein really does. For the two projects he was able to talk about, he mentioned the epic attitude again, saying “It’s not like everything we’re filming is Epic Meal Time.”

After releasing a gaming app in July of 2012, they’re currently planning their second one. He says “We’re currently putting together a ton of content that has never been seen before” — behind-the-scenes videos and more — as well as “consolidated Twitter, Instagram feeds, and stuff like that.”

Along with the pending second season of “Epic Chef,” the guys are still working on “Epic Tool Time.” Morenstein says, “we’re taking the whole Epic Meal Time mentality and leaving the kitchen and applying it to other things. Epic Meal Time is food porn and we do lots of things that are so dumb that they’re smart. Epic Tool Time will be closer to furniture porn, where we’ll create awesome things that are so stupid they’re smart.”

Then there’s also the three-year aniversary to plan for in October. Morenstein joked, “We got Rob Schneider to direct that episode, we’re just gonna be hosting it, and we’re gonna release it on YouPorn so we can show full-frontal nudity and penetration.” He held a beat and added, “Everything I just said is a lie.” But whatever they really end up doing, it’ll be bigger, better, ballsier, and bacon-er.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Cut_Logo_300x250_VideoInk

Meet Cut — Gunpowder & Sky’s First Big Video...

 
Fishman

Digital Video Vets Launch Excellerate Advisory Firm

 
Jaclyn Glenn Streamup

Streamup Signs YouTube’s Favorite Atheist Jaclyn Glenn

 
Tom Cassell Syndicate Legends of Gaming Endemol Beyond

Syndicate (a.k.a. Tom Cassell) to host ‘Legends of...

 
Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
 
Thunderbirds Are Go Amazon

‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ for Amazon for Four 13-Episode...

 
Beat Bugs Netflix

Beatles Songs Backing Animated Insects in Netflix Series...

 
YouTube Money

Brands Aside, Political Ads Top YouTube’s Advertising...

 
Foursome YouTube Red

YouTube Red Reveals Two New Originals, Teases Next Batch of Premieres

 
Fuller House

The FullerHouse Trailer is Here!

 
Digital Entertainment World DEW

Start-Ups Face Off at Digital Entertainment World

 
Joking Hazard Explosm Entertainment

Explosm Entertainment and Studio71 Go Kickstarter Route with...

 
Ricky Dillon Follow Me Keywords Press

Ricky Dillon Joins YouTube Literary Movement with ‘Follow...

 
MTV Snapchat Discover

Viacom Pacts with Snapchat for MTV Discover Channel and Ad Sales

 
Mozart in the Jungle

Amazon Renews ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ for Season 3

 
In Awe of You by AwesomenessTV Dress Macy's

AwesomenessTV Launches Fashion Line with Macy’s and Tie-In...

 
Studio71

Studio71 Opens Canadian Cooking Studio, Signs Domestic Geek and...

 
Horace and Pete Louis C.K. Steve Buscemi

Louis C.K. Releasing Series Direct-to-Digital Series as He Shoots It

 
Puppymonkeybaby Mountain Dew Super Bowl 50

Puppymonkeybaby Dominates Game Day Online Ad Competition, But...

 
Bryan Lanning

How Bryan Lanning Turned a Family Vlog into Pop Music Success

 
Heinz Ad Super Bowl 50

Try Our Super Bowl 50 Branded Video Sample Platter

 
Joe Montana Bay Area or Bust Super Bowl

How Brands Are Breaking the Internet with Super Bowl Videos

 
BrandedTVLogo_VideoInk_300x250

The Collision of Branded Content and Pro Sports

 
Orange is the New Black

Netflix Triples Down on ‘Orange is the New Black’

 
YouTube AdBlitz Jake and Amir

YouTube Reveals Top Trending Super Bowl Ads

 
mitu

Mitú Uses Influence Among Latino Millennials for Political Push

 
andy_milonakis

Andy Milonakis Signs Exclusive Live Stream Deal with Streamup

 
Univision Creator Network

Univision Creator Network Adds YouTuber Josh Leyva and...

 
BroadbandTV BBTV

Take That, Maker Studios! BroadbandTV Now Biggest Multi-Platform...

 
Bassem Yousseff F-Comedy Fusion

F-Comedy Signs Bassem Youssef, ‘The Jon Stewart of Egypt’

 
Netflix acquires three new indie flicks

Netflix Traveling to Pittsburgh for ‘Mindhunter’...

 
Super Bowl 50 Go90 Verizon NFL

Go90 to Live Stream Super Bowl 50 for Verizon Wireless Customers

 
YouTubeRedLogo

YouTube Red’s First Originals Get Premiere Date

 
Defy Media

Rumor Mill: Defy Media Latest MCN on the Block – Asking...

 
Blue Mountain State Lionsgate

The Netflix Effect: How Streaming Success Brought ‘Blue...

 
Fine Brothers. Bros.

Fine Bros. Abandon React World, Issue Mea Culpa

 
Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Seeso

Seeso Sets Premieres for 3 Series, incl. ‘What’s Your...

 
Socio Still_Canvas Media Group Astronauts Wanted Bernie Su

Bernie Su and Astronauts Wanted Take Transmedia Look Inside Mind...

 
devin supertramp

Misunderstanding or Menace: Devinsupertramp’s Not Awesome...

 
Netflix_new

Netflix Gets into Sketch Comedy Biz with ‘The Characters’

 
Love and Friendship Sundance Film Festival 2016

Sundance 2016 Wrap-Up: Streaming Services Come of Age