IamA the dude who made that $80 Taco Bell Lasagna and a co-founder at Foodbeast.com, AMA!
Yoo my name is Elie (pronounced Eli).
I'm a writer/co-founder at Foodbeast, 27 years old, ask me whatever about this lasagna, media, my little hands... (sorry to those who asked dope questions earlier, that AMA was removed cause I'm a numnut who didn't provide the right proof.)
Foodbeast is viewed by over 70 million people monthly across YouTube, Facebook and of course Foodbeast.com.
Facebook Proof (just posted a link to this AMA on our official Facebook page): https://www.facebook.com/foodbeast/posts/10153898425654281 My Proof: http://imgur.com/8uOxsAR More Proof: http://imgur.com/GT1DtOc
Posted this Taco Bell Lasagna recipe yesterday on Foodbeast: http://www.foodbeast.com/news/taco-bell-lasagna/
Also posted the video on our Facebook and YouTube.
Now it is on these awesome websites:
People Mag: http://greatideas.people.com/2016/02/03/taco-bell-lasagna/
February 4th, 12:30pm PST: Thank you all for the awesome questions, was a pleasure hanging out! Thank you to the kind soul who bought me some Reddit Gold, super thankful! You ever need anything, hit me up on Instagram: @bookofelie.... until the next AMA!
okay, so your heart no longer functions?
Walked right into that...or did I? <3
Call you yung lasagna
OUTTTTAAAA HERE. Love it.
Man Lasagna is my favorite food of all time but after I saw that taco bell one... It ruined the whole experience for me... specifically those beans it made it so unappetizing. Take the beans out and i'd reconsider.
I guess I could take those beans out and send you a cut of the video where they don't exist.
I just don't want to.
I feel like the noodles themselves didn't fit with everything else. If have used the tortilla shells from the tacos. Probably easier than coming noodles when at a .
This was def. a big topic of discussion on the drive over to Taco Bell before we made it. Our initial idea was to use the thicker Gordita tortillas, and keep it all 100%
TBell...but we wanted the framework of the Lasagna, and without the noodles it wouldn't have looked much different than a casserole or some shitty enchilada.
Now it's just a shitty looking lasagna.
What sets you apart from the Epic Meal Time guys?
Love Epic Meal Time. Big difference, from what I understand of their amazing brand, is that they are first and foremost entertainers and Epic Meal Time is their main program.
Foodbeast is a media organization first, with several different avenues of programming: news, recipes, adventure series, etc. We write about people like Epic Meal Time, and we have since day 1.
As an ex EpicMealTime chef that co birthed the Fast Food Lasagna, I approve this Taco Bell creation.
Love you Josh! Excited to see you next week! OHHH WHAT? JOSH ELKIN x FOODBEAST?!
Awesome! Who doesn't love Taco Bell?
Fuck...I'm sober and have taco bell in my car. Is there something wrong with me? What 800 # do I call for this?
Plus watching epic meal time, as entertaining as it can be, almost all the food creations look inedible (ie. Dumping a bunch of Jack Daniels on fast food and bacon). Whereas the food beast creations usually look like something I might actually eat.
Thanks! Yeah, we're not trying to do Epic Meal Time at all. They're comedians, storytellers, and their format is these large structural pieces of amazingness.
On average, how many Courics is your average dump?
LOL, not gonna lie, had to look up wtf a COURIC is. Google led me here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More_Crap
An AMA for a guy who made a lasagne? What have we come to Reddit
Not even an Italian one at that, amirite?!
You're my age. Wtf. How did you find the motivation/capital/resources/etc to get all of this in motion?
No capital. To this day we've had no outside investment.
In 2008, I spent about $10 to buy a domain from MyDomain.com, under $100 a year on hosting on BlueHost.com (at the time), and me and my friends wrote for free on a Wordpress Theme I hacked away at.
Learned everything the hard way. Happy to answer specific questions if you have them.
Yo, are you looking for passionate writers? I am obese of mind
LOL, send some pitches over: [email protected]
So is this your only sauce of income?? Does it leave you living comfortably?
Yes, Foodbeast is my main source of income.
We have a staff of 10+ people. I'm not driving around in a Tesla, but I'm comfortable in that I have a nice roof over my head! <3
What's something you've been wanting to make for a while?
I want to bake a cake. I have so many wacky ideas for cake, but I haven't even baked a normal one yet. That's next on my bucket list.
Should be called a cookit list
Damn, no you didn't!
Are you in NYC? I'd be happy to help with your cake endeavors
We are based in Southern California. Thanks for the kindness though!
Would you kindly share the recipe with us over at /r/food ? :)
I don't know Reddit well enough, I feel like it'll get banned? Any tips?! Would be happy to share the recipe in more detail...
Holy shit! love the site! best diy food youve made/eaten?
Really partial to the Poke Burrito we made a few weeks ago. Pretty clean eats for the most part: https://www.facebook.com/foodbeast/videos/10153853164779281/
Given that you're now somewhat famous for making a lasagna, I must ask, what are your thoughts on Mondays?
Honestly, I love coming to work so Mondays are like Fridays which are like Saturdays to me.
But, I can always support a group groan: FUCK MONDAYS.
Howdy tacoboy! What is your proudest achievement when it comes to cooking?
Honestly, I'm a pretty shit cook. I made a stir fry yesterday and for the first time it wasn't horrid. I just moved in to a new place with a decent kitchen, so I feel like I just started really cooking.
When it comes to stir fry the secret is lemongrass and sesame oil. Or, the secret when it comes to stir frying it comes to just testing everything once and writing down what works. My proudest moments in the kitchen always relate to stews. Preferably with beef, dill and fennel.
Yeah, it's so eerily satisfying when you don't fuck it up. My big problem is that I didn't judge the moisture of everything. Stir Fry is all about that high heat, but I always had ingredients in my wok that lended to too much water boiling at the bottom...instead of frying it up, I was just boiling it. Once I figured that out, I was gold.
Sesame oil is on point too...gotta try that lemongrass though, thanks for the note!
so you work on a food media project but you're a crappy cook? How does that work? Do you think it is a strength or a weakness?
Strength. I founded Foodbeast on the principle that you can love food, interact with food, and LEARN about food without having to go to culinary school or know ANYTHING about cooking.
As the website and the projects grew, it was this perspective of normalcy that helped keep our tone and content different than every other food property.
Why is this video so cringey? I enjoy most of your videos...except the "mispronunciation" ones.
Might not be for you I guess, but thanks for enjoying the other ones!
The other day I made this bad boy and I figured it is right up your alley. The Bacon Crusted Poutine Pie. Recipe is pretty straight forward. All you need is 1lb of bacon, fries, cheese curds (use grated cheese if cheese curds is unavailable), and gravy. I've been eating that for a couple days, it is so fucking good.
What do you think of this delicious monstrosity?
Is this your image? If so, can you e-mail it to [email protected] we'll share it!
What was your biggest channel to get your content out on back when you started? What is it now?
It's almost hard to remember a time before Facebook. I jumped in to Google Analytics to help remember. Here's the first year back in 08:
08-09 Traffic Screenshot: http://imgur.com/UE0qklZ
Looks like it was just trying to do word of mouth, blog sharing and being first to leads to catch the Google Search trickle.
Realized I didn't answer you completely. After that, we established really dope relationships with our friends at The Huffington Post and some other major outlets, we became a source of food news for them.
Now Facebook and Google remain predominant traffic drivers.
That's interesting. I love how stumble upon was up there. Ahh the good ole days.
Yeah man, I loved that Stumble Upon traffic. I wonder how big a source it is for folks nowadays?
Would you say if someone truly loved someone, they would make this for them?
I love watching your guys' videos. Any plans to make more "How to Eat ----- Like a Boss" videos anytime soon? (Those are my favorites, might have something to do with you winking at the camera at the end of most of them 😄).
Also, did you actually eat 7 whole burgers in one sitting for the How to Eat a Burger video!?!
I remember eating a shitload of burgers that day. Thanks so much for that!
We don't have any in the pipeline, but we might if we get some more good ideas for them!
I've been wondering this all day: how many people did it serve?
It serves 10 - 15 hungry people, less or more depending on how timid people are.
Is Foodbeast hiring?
We're always looking for quality people.
[email protected] is your best bet. Key, tell us what it is you want to do specifically. A lot of the random inquiries we get are "I like to eat, hire me." Also, if you look hard enough on the site, you will see an open positions page.
She's engaged and doing well!
She does a lot of co-hosting on the TODAY show outside of her gig at POPSUGAR. Go follow her: https://www.instagram.com/brandimilloy/
Any plans for a different fast food chain lasagna?
So, we did an In-N-Out pie that people really loved/hated:
Story: http://www.foodbeast.com/news/in-n-out-pie/ Facebook Video: https://www.facebook.com/foodbeast/videos/10153813300849281/
So I probably won't do a "lasagna" next, but I love the idea of taking a memorable brand and mashing it with a memorable delivery device (pie, lasagna, burrito...etc.).
Do you have any crazy fast food extravaganza's coming up soon?
Tune in to our Facebook.com/foodbeast today, we live stream when crazy shit comes in to the office. I think something crazy is coming in to the office today...
Elie, what is your main elevator pitch for FoodBeast? Where do you see the site and page going? You have some awesome stuff so I am curious to know where you go from here.
Right now, the goal is to be an alternative to Food Network. With content we care about, personalities we can relate to, and seeing this content in places that matter to us.
Food news site, original video programming, [recipes], in-person experiences.
We want to create experiences and share content laterally as opposed to strictly top down (imagine creating and learning with each other, instead of just being told how to make something). You'll see this come full circle this year as we launch our new app.
Awesome! Our users (we're a social polling app) actually voted that they loved Food Network. But an alternative would be nice! Do you think that online video content makes it easier to structure that kind of presence yourself? How much help do you have?
It definitely allows a small staff of 10 to make more noise than we could have even 5 years ago.
We stay bootstrapped, and for the most part, it's forced us to be way more crafty with our content, our exposure tactics and our growth strategy.
So how much help? Not much, but it doesn't seem to be that big a deal yet.
Is Brandi from Popsugar funny in real life? I'm a big fan of all of your In and Out burger concoctions.
Brandi laughs a lot.
And, glad you dig the In-N-Out stuff!
From the description, it sounds like you just bought ingredients like beef and beans from Taco bell rather than whole items. If that's the case, why didn't you just buy that stuff from the grocery store and spent less at Taco Bell? It looks similar to a Mexican lasagna that I make out of corn tortillas, spiced ground beef, cheese, and enchilada sauce, but that only costs like $8 rather than $80.
I didn't want a "Mexican" lasagna, I wanted a "Taco Bell" Lasagna.
You can spend less and achieve "somewhat" the same effect, but the store bought beans and ground beef just wouldn't be the same.
$80 and content for 2 days on 6 websites. How much money has this easy content made you?
It's hard to break it down revenue to just this recipe, we produce 20+ content pieces a day, some obviously performs better than others. If it wasn't for the 20 other pieces though, we don't land on something like this.
How does a toaster strudel, cinnabon, pop tart desert lasagna sound?
Oh shit, my favorite question is relevant. What is your favorite sandwich?
I have a weird tick where if I see a Club Sandwich on a menu, regardless of where I'm at, whether I'm hungry or not, I HAVE to order it.
Some weird homage to my childhood, I dunno...just love the layers of crispy bread and bacon. Dill pickle spear.
I never thought I'd get a half chub thinking about a theoretical club sandwich, but it's happening.
How do you pronounce your name, is that just a different way of spelling Eli?
Yup, you pronounce it: Eli
How excited were you when you saw that Taco Bell commented on your video?
saw that Taco Be
That was way cool of them. When we were editing this video, no joke we got a half chub (the music really carries it), so we're glad they felt the same way.
I never heard of your company before. So I watched the $80 Taco Bell Lasagna video and got nauseous. What do you have to say about that?
Hopefully you check out: http://foodbeast.com and our Facebook (/foodbeast) and Instagram (@foodbeast) and find something else you like.
Any combinations of food that you can think of that absolutely don't go together? Or weird foods that actually go together well?
I always thought it weird when people were told not to mix cheese with seafood...I think that's delicious. Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?
Have you ever had carne asada fries?
Of course! That's the unofficial "I'm fucked up and I want to wake up with beautiful and well-deserved ass fire tomorrow" meal of Southern California!
Do you shit in the morning, afternoon, night, or random?
Yo, I always pop out a mediocre shit before the gym in the morning. Can't have it running around while I creep 24 Hour Fitness.
Then I have a coffee as soon as I get into the office in the morning, and usually on the 5th or 6th sip I'm back on the throne working on my Instagram (this is usually the dopest shit of the day).
I usually pop out one more late afternoon. I don't really fuck with night poops.
Did it actually taste good?
It was amazing. It's cheese, carbs, noodle carbs, tortilla carbs, cheese, sauce. Not really sure where the bad taste would come from.
Were the lasagna noodles necessary?
Dude, I just saw the vid, and you just changed my life! 2 questions:
1) When are you going to invite me over for dinner?
2) Can it be right now?
1) Where do you live? 2) Where do you live?
Hey man, I make pizza, and I'm pretty good at it but I'm throwing in the rag soon. I have been doing to long and I'm not making good money. So my question is... Are you hiring? This is only semi-serious but whatever.
E-mail me pictures of pizzas you've made. Tell me what you would want to do at Foodbeast.
Find my e-mail!
Do you see anything ethicly wrong about using food as entertainment?
No, but maybe you can enlighten me on why I might have a conscience about it?
How do you not get diabetes eating all that? :-D
Only ate a slice (cube).
My roommate Matt ate another slice, and then we brought it in to work for everyone else to enjoy.
Would you consider making an alternative recipe with Del Taco?
Honestly, me and Matt wanted to do it with Del Taco first, because, Del Taco is amazing. Their Chicken Soft tacos would have made it orgasmic...but we knew that Del Taco is a very regional brand that many may not have known about, so we went with their more recognizable brand.
Hey I saw you and Rudy did some videos on GQ, seemed like a pretty fun gig for you guys. Expecting to do anything more with them ?
Working with GQ was real cool. We did a 5-city show. Technically, that show is still in its "run season," we went to 5 cities and shot 3 videos in each city.
I'd definitely do more work with them if they wanted! Not gonna lie, I'd like to be the pudgy dude on the GQ cover eating In-N-Out Burger one day.
love food beast
one question, what are you working on next?
Love you too!!
More original video programming is a big initiative in 2016. We ended 2015 with a new Drinking series on GQ (http://video.gq.com/series/where-s-the-bar), in 2016 we're launching several of our own programmed series on Foodbeast, YouTube, Facebook, and some other networks.
Also, our new App is gonna be ridiculous.
Elie! What are your thoughts/opinion about the #BeefyCrunchMovement and their 35K+ community on Facebook? :)
Hahah I love it. You guys are passionate AF, and I can always get behind passionate people. Keep it up!
Also, e-mail me, it's due time we did a feature on you! Keep up the good fight <3
Are you ever looking for new writers? Working with your team seems like it would be the most fun.
Always. It always starts with a dope pitch: [email protected]
Were you paid by Taco Bell for this episode? If not, have they reached out to offer money for a follow up video?
Nope, and nope. Someone should Tweet at @TacoBell and tell them to get on it though!
Real talk though, it's very rare that a restaurant chain of any size endorses or pays for people to hack up their menu. There are plenty of reasons for it (health, quality control, branding issues, etc.).
That said, Taco Bell is cool AF. They've tweeted about this video and commented on YouTube, they said it "Brought us to tears"
How much does Dude Foods pay you to get all those sweet features?
Nothing, he has amazing content, it practically features itself.
It's called taco casserole, not taco lasagna you Philistine.
As a fellow food enthusiast who enjoys cooking, do you find it hard to balance qyour health and munchies?
Yeah -- our office is full of people constantly going on and off diets, but for me personally, I spend a lot of time in the gym and exercising just to stay skinny-fat.
I definitely subscribe to eating what I want, focusing on tasting things over finishing them (a skill I'm still trying to master), but it just means I gotta allot time to finding physical activities I enjoy.
Cheating yourself on food is the saddest shit ever, but cheating on your health sucks too.
What's it like being famous as fuck?
Haha I don't know, we'll ask that together in someone else's AMA.
I hear Ben Schwartz is on the 5th of Feb. <3
What's an average shit for you?
I shit multiple times a day. It's where I get most of my Instagramming in. Seriously, a good 80% of our Foodbeast Instagram content happens while I'm on the shitter. Let that sink in.
http://instagram.com/foodbeast .... if you give a shit.
it looks fucking delicious!!! Do you think you would have saved money just buying the ingredients from the store? Or were you going for the taco bell taste as well?
You can absolutely make it way cheaper buying everything from the store. For the sake of the story/video, we wanted it all to be Taco Bell because we wanted every last flavor to be from Taco Bell.
SO THIS GUY WANTS TO BE THE FINE BROTHERS OF FOOD HUH !?
I'm not familiar with your site, but it looks awesome. Is it all original content?
We have a fair amount of original content, but we're a news source/aggregator as well, so we cover and talk about a lot of OTHER people's original content.
I couldn't tell you what the split is...but we publish close to 20+ pieces of content a day across Foodbeast.com, our various social channels, as well as partner sites that we develop cool shit for.
Do you have algorithms that scrub the internet for news stories and trends? Only asking because I recently did business with a company that was a news aggregator and had some pretty crazy technology working behind the scenes. I was amazed at the amount of programmers they had.
That must have been a really awesome experience, I'd love to hear more about that technology!
Lead gen is indeed a huge part of news aggregation. Our process is a bit more crude than what I'm assuming you got to experience.
Each member of the breaking news-side of our editorial team has built their own repertoire of aggregation tools. Some follow trade magazines (drink, food, restaurant), some use Hootsuite and other scrubbing tools, and we all come together in person in the morning and over Slack for our remote team members.
With that Taco Bell Lasagna, what's it like to live with type 30 diabetes?
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