We make people happy. In 2010, we got a lot of comments about how weird it was that all these dudes were hanging out in the kitchen. We made that approachable. We’ve helped to inspire people to take up a craft.
I had the pleasure to interview Harley Morenstein founder of Epic Meal Time. With over 1 billion views, Epic Meal Time is one of the original youtube channels. Harley, the creator, is now trying to take over retail, with the launch of his snack brand, Super Snack Time, currently sold in Walmarts across the country.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Prior to Epic Meal Time and starting Super Snack Time, I was a teacher in Montreal. I was a substitute teacher at first, so I’d get the call at 6 am. My one rule was that I’d always take the job. I would film music videos for local rappers or weddings and enter web contests on the side. I ended up getting a full time teaching gig, and that summer was when I filmed the first EMT video. I bought my filming equipment by entering contests and saving up teaching money. It was released in October and crossed 100K views. I committed to doing another video that next Tuesday. That was in 2010, and we’ve released a new video every Tuesday since. Those first epic meals were awesome; we were just a bunch of friends cooking together. Fast forward and we’ve made some TV shows, have released a cookbook, cooking set, and now a really fun, unique snack brand — Super Snack Time. We went from putting tacos on a pizza to making pizza jerky that’s on the shelves of Walmart’s.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
I have a ton of funny and weird stories to tell, but here are a few favorites:
1. In 2010, my last year teaching, a student came up to me and said, “Hey I think I saw you yelling about drinking beer and using aggressive language on the internet.” Oops.
2. In 2012, Epic Meal Time went on a college tour and met lots of people. Fans would give high fives, hugs, etc. One girl gave me a bunch of her fingernails. Definitely the weirdest fan “gift” to date.
3. In 2014 we ended up moving to LA, and rented a house. The house was Ludacris’ old house. The walk in closet was bigger than the hallway and kitchen at my mom’s house. Living there was weird; the most interesting ppl would come through, including Riff Raff, the rapper.
4. I’ve cooked ostrich eggs on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s old Austrian military tank. That was cool because Arnold inspired me to pursue a life of entertainment.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
This always sounds cliché or cheesy but when someone reaches out to us and says how we’ve changed their life or made them happy. Through all the haters and “you sucks,” we also get firsthand recollections of people’s positive experiences and memories. We make people happy. In 2010, we got a lot of comments about how weird it was that all these dudes were hanging out in the kitchen. We made that approachable. We’ve helped to inspire people to take up a craft.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
My advice is, don’t emulate someone else’s career. Find your own path. If you’re doing your job as a means to the end, it won’t work.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful?
I’m lucky that I have a great family (I have an older brother and sister, and an awesome mom and dad). I was able to do something ridiculous and take a leap because of their support. I was able to work at school while living in my mom’s basement. If this didn’t work, I’d still be in my mom’s basement teaching. Now, Darren (my brother) is my partner; he’s been there since the first year. My mom does customer service, and both my mom and dad help with merchandising.
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
Everything we work on is fun. The coolest thing I’m working on now is Super Snack Time. We just launched the first snack, Pizza in Bag, a delicious pepperoni jerky, and just put out large bags of it at Walmart. Through Super Snack Time, we’re working on launching foods that I wished I had growing up, so be on the lookout for more soon.
Originally published at medium.com