Nathan Klein is a competitive eater and YouTuber from Michigan.
Nathan Klein has made a name for himself since he decided to start participating in food challenges and eating contests in 2019. Nathan said in a 2021 interview with us that one of the first food challenges he attempted was at a local pub that he visited while on his lunch break at work. (You can read that interview here.)
Nathan took on the burger challenge featured at the pub and finished it in record time. He was hooked and continued pursuing food challenges and the rewards that came with them.
Nathan would bring a camera and a timer to restaurants and take on their food challenges. He would also add narration to his videos, offering viewers an in-depth experience of his thoughts and strategies while he takes on the challenge. He was not only cool, calm, and collected but also genuinely funny and willing to laugh at himself.
Over the years, Nathan has kept up his commitment to food challenges and competitive eating. He has also continuously improved the quality of his videos and remains dedicated to producing quality content with a laid-back vibe.
Nathan has earned many prizes from his eating accomplishments, including money, t-shirts, gift cards, and free food. What's more? He's also on the Wall of Fame at restaurants across the United States and has acquired over 200 food challenge wins to date.
Recently, Nathan reached 5,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. He currently sits at 161 videos, with over 270,000 views on his channel. Viewers have watched Nathan take on a variety of foods over the years, including a massive cinnamon roll and even a bait bucket full of ice cream.
It's been two years since we talked with Nathan. He has continued to produce videos and improve his eating techniques. He has also had a few of his videos go viral on YouTube, with one video reaching over 30,000 views.
We caught up with Nathan recently to discuss his subscriber milestone, YouTube, food challenges, and more. Let's get into it!
FCN: How different would your life be if you never became a competitive eater?
Nathan: I think I would be less adventurous and less willing to take risks. More than just trying a food challenge I might not win, but taking trips to new places, trying new hobbies, or meeting new people. It sounds weird, but it's true.
FCN: You have taken on a variety of food over the years. What is the most unique food that you have had to eat competitively?
Nathan: The most unique food I ever ate was at a contest in 2021. Every year in Potterville, MI, they host a chicken gizzard eating contest at an event called Gizzard Fest. I had never had a gizzard before that contest. Many people took a few bites at the start and just got up and walked out. I'm proud to say I ate all two pounds of chicken gizzards in just over five minutes.
It was the first and last time I planned to eat them.
FCN: How many miles have you traveled approximately over the years for food challenges?
Nathan: I have not kept track, but if I had to guess, I would say probably 40,000 miles in five years.
FCN: Just two years ago, you were at 100 subscribers on YouTube. You recently reached 5,000 subscribers on your channel. Did it happen faster than you thought?
Nathan: Yes, it did. I actually never thought I would reach 1,000 subscribers. Fortunately, I've had some videos that went "viral," such as the One Bowl Cereal Challenge, the Jolly Giant Omelet, and the Drummond Island Jefe Burrito. I've also been privileged to collaborate with some very popular competitive eaters and be featured in many local publications!
FCN: What have you learned from being a YouTuber?
Nathan: You need to love to do it because the amount of time and effort you put into it is a lot compared to the reward. The time has passed to make a comfortable living off YouTube doing competitive eating. I simply continue to do it because I enjoy it.
FCN: Do you get recognized in public?
Nathan: I have been recognized a few times, and it's very weird to me. When I was in the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan earlier this year, I was in the Michigan Tech Store on campus, and someone working there realized I had just beaten a food challenge in the area since they saw it on Facebook.
I was also recognized at a local contest this summer in Michigan. The person asked if I was the guy who went to Drummond Island and ate the giant burrito. I have also run into former co-workers and classmates in stores, and they sometimes comment on seeing an article or a video. It does not happen very often, but I do get a kick out of it when it does.
FCN: How many T-shirts have you collected from food challenges/eating contests?
Nathan: I have not counted them in a while, but if I had to estimate, I would say close to 160. I have just started a fourth Rubbermaid tub in the basement. Call it an addiction.
FCN: What's next for your competitive eating journey?
Nathan: I would like to continue to travel to new places and try many "bucket list" challenges that have been on my list for many years.
Photo credit: Nathan Klein