Your regular everyday meals probably lack the grandeur, taste and calorie count of a five-pound French Canadian sandwich, a quail in a hen in a chicken in a duck in a turkey stuffed in a pig or of a giant egg roll, but for the guys of Epic Meal Time, a fast-paced online cooking show, their meals are just that and more.
Each week these Montreal locals attempt the impossible and often the frightening, by combining every ingredient from bacon and ham to Four Loko and Jalapeno chips, in an attempt to create an epic alternative to an ordinary meal.
What began as a fun activity between friends, has transformed to an online phenomenon. Their first episode, launched in mid-October, was a pizza topped with fast food’s greatest hits and covered in cheese. But the 5210 calories and 286 grams of fat seems like a light snack when we compare it to the dishes that have made them so successful.
Their channel sky-rocketed when they released The Angry French Canadian, a French-Canadian inspired French toast sandwich filled with poutine, maple syrup and steamed hotdogs. Further frenzy ensued with the release of the 79,000-calorie TurBaconEpic, an over-stuffed pig for their Thanksgiving special, as it was shared over every social network imaginable.
Harley Morenstein, the co-creator and narrator of Epic Meal Time, said it was their love of food that made them launch this tremendously viewed Youtube sensation: “We’re foodies, all of us. We always have crazy ideas, we only decided to film them and let everyone watch recently.”
Aside from Morenstein, the group includes Alex Perrault, or as Morenstein likes to call him, Muscles Glasses, a personal trainer and Concordia student known for wearing reflective aviators and using a paddle instead of a fork in the videos.
There is also Concordia student Tyler Lemco, as well as David Heuff, Josh Elkin and Ameer Atari. With the help of Sterling Toth, who films each episode, these 20-somethings have created an online phenomenon complete with war-themed music from inside their family homes.
“Bacon strips and bacon strips, and bacon strips,” is a phrase coined by Morenstein to describe their favourite Epic Meal Time ingredient: bacon. It has become a symbol of recognition in the videos and has been used in almost every possible form. From now on, people everywhere will bow their heads in shame if they do not use bacon to build a fortress, weave a plate, form a cup, cover the roof of a 90,000 calorie gingerbread meat house or use it to roll together the 800 grams of fat in their hand-made meat sushi.
Their Youtube channel has become an instant fan favourite, with their videos receiving over 12 million views in the last three months. Their genuine epicness and heavy fanbase made up of Youtube subscribers, Facebook friends and viewers worldwide have placed the Epic Meal Time sensation as the #2 most viewed channel in Canada this month and the #26 most subscribed Canadian channel of all time.
What speaks even more than the numbers, is the feedback Morenstein has received. “Someone said, ‘I would give you my first born child to experiment with for an Epic Meal.'”
Despite the millions of viewers, their rise to Internet fame has not come without a few haters. Morenstein has managed “to keep these haters out” by addressing them numerous times in their videos and by building a nearly 19,000 calorie bacon-piled breakfast fortress.
“We don’t really respond to people that take it too seriously, it is what it is,” said Morenstein. “When people take it really seriously, we feel like they’re missing the point.”
And, in a further attempt to respond to harsh criticism of their use of meat, and sexism towards women in their videos, he addresses his haters once again.
“‘Hater’s gunna hate. Hating hurts the haters more than the hated.’ This is a quote, I don’t know who said it though, you can quote me on that.”
With new episodes airing every Tuesday, creations such as the “next level meat-cage cooking apparatus,” or an epic-sized corn dog, mean that fans who love the meat-sweats will never be disappointed.
The guys of Epic Meal Time have been nominated for a Shorty Award in the food category, an award that recognizes social media and Twitter fan-favorites. Currently they are in the lead, putting them ahead of shows like the Food Network’s Bitchin’Kitchen and Twitter phenomenon Ruth Bourdain.
“We didn’t know what they were, and then we started getting nominated by them, and we were like, let’s win,” said Morenstein. “But whether or not we’re winning, we’re giving them a run for their money now, and we’re just dudes.”
Their hopes are high for this cooking show without cooks, and understandably so. Things have snowballed rather quickly for these Montreal locals who are hoping things will get even more epic.
“Epic Meal Time Imax 3D, directed by James Cameron,” said Morenstein. “That is where I see it going.”
Quoting the epic narrator himself: “Next time, we eat Concordia.”
You can find Epic Meal Time at www.epicmealtime.com. Catch a new episode every Tuesday morning on their Youtube channel.
To vote for them in this year’s Shorty Awards, visit www.shortyawards.com/EpicMealTime