Me IRL: Harley Morenstein

By Allen Weiner

No one will mistake Harley Morenstein for the U.K.’s famed Jamie Oliver or Top Chef host Tom Colicchio.

Morenstein is a bear of a man with a beard growing every which way, a profound love for bacon, and a huge distaste for olives. He is a gentle giant who has used YouTube and social media to express his love for all things meaty and caloric in nature.

Canada native Morenstein was a teacher in 2010 when he and a group of friends filmed a video of our hero eating a fast food burger containing six patties and 18 strips of bacon. Over on YouTube, the video gained thousands of viewers and ultimately led to the Epic Meal Time channel. Was this turn of luck accidental?

“We are so focused on food because ultimately if we don’t focus on food, we die.”

“It wasn’t entirely serendipitous,” Morenstein told the Daily Dot before the launch of his cable show Epic Meal Empire. “I had reserved the Epic Meal Time name. After I watched the first episode, I thought it could be something that people could really enjoy.”

Morenstein’s success is due in part to his mastery of social media. In addition to YouTube, he has more than 405,000 Twitter followers, and even more on Instagram and Vine. You have to wonder where he finds the time to ingest all that pig product.

This master of greasy grub’s popularity led to the July 2014 launch of Epic Meal Empire on the FYI network and his first Thanksgiving special, which debuted Nov. 15. For The Kernel’s food issue, the sauce boss talked to us about Wikipedia wormholes, his teaching past, and his beef with Julius Caesar.

First screen name: Fast Eddy. I don’t know why. It just happened.

Earliest memory of the Internet: Being on the Internet just surfing chat rooms and having my mom pick up the phone and hearing her confused voice coming out of the computer: “What the f**k is wrong with the phone? It’s making robot noises!!!”

“Jif” of “gif”: I wish I knew. I honestly wish I knew. If I had genie, with three wishes, I would wish that I knew.

Favorite bizarre Wikipedia entry: I get lost on Wikipedia all the time. I can’t choose a favorite, so I’ll just say the most recent entry I’ve read: Flying Spaghetti Monster.

If the Internet didn’t exist: I’d be the best elementary school teacher in the world.

Essential app: Alien Blue. The best way to procrastinate.

Must-follow on Twitter: @HarleyPlays. He’s hilarious. Also follow him on Instagram and SnapChat.

Favorite social network: Instagram. Maybe Snapchat. I’m not sure.

The Web would be better if: It didn’t have any speed or download/upload limits.

The Internet in five years: Won’t have any speed or download/upload limits. Or it will be super limited. Actually… I don’t know.

Morenstein is a bear of a man with a beard growing every which way, a profound love for bacon, and a huge distaste for olives.

If you could have any guest on your show: Alive, Bill Murray. Dead, Julius Caesar. Just so we can tell him his salad sucks.

What was it like being on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno?

It was like my bar mitzvah. A lot of thought went into it leading up to it, and then it was over so fast it was practically all a blur. It was a way cooler experience when Jay Leno came on Epic Meal Time and ate a poutine out of a toolbox.

Why are we as a culture so focused on food at the moment?

We are so focused on food because ultimately if we don’t focus on food, we die.

Is there a difference between American and Canadian food trends?

Not so much. Canada likes being adventurous with food. Even our Wendy’s sells pulled pork. But I find the quality of food on average is much better in Canada.

Do you have any celebrity fans?

Tony Hawk. Deadmau5. Chris Hardwick. Kevin Smith. Tom Green. Simon Cowell. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe more. I’ve just confirmed these ones myself.

Did you even make anything so disgusting you just couldn’t eat it?

Turtle soup. It tasted like a swamp. I hated it. It hated me.

Illustration by J. Longo