The last time young chef and Teaneck native Eitan Bernath spoke with The Jewish Link, he was elated to have just finished his first-ever cookbook, “Eitan Eats the World,” complete with 85 recipes of his own creation. Just six months later, and only a few weeks after Bernath’s 20th birthday, the social media star’s magnum opus is hitting the shelves, officially out on May 3. To celebrate, Bernath has embarked on a book launch tour, ranging from high-profile interviews on morning talk shows to visiting the places where it all began.
“I’m used to recording things and having them go live within a few weeks,” Bernath shared. “So the experience of writing something over a year and a half ago, and just now having it released, is so weird and cool at the same time. I’ve been waiting for this day and I’m so excited.”
Since November, when the cookbook was sent to production, Bernath has wasted no time in becoming an even bigger sensation than he already was. In December, he participated in a holiday decoration party at the White House along with other social media content creators and influencers, where he was introduced to a member of First Lady Jill Biden’s team. And before he could even blink, the First Lady’s team had invited him to the official White House Chanukah party, where he would stand alongside other significant Jewish figures from around the country, as well as political powerhouses, including the President himself.
“It was probably the coolest night of my life,” Bernath recalled. “It was insane to be standing in the White House with everyone else, proudly wearing my Jewish star, and celebrating the holiday with some of the most powerful people on Earth. It was absolutely surreal.”
Bernath continued that just when he thought his life couldn’t be any more insane, news broke that he had made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the Food and Drink category. “The day of [the announcement], it didn’t even hit me…I only realized a few days later what I’ve accomplished at such a young age.” He recalled that the head of operations at Eitan Productions, Noah, was the one who saw the Forbes posting and the one to share the news with the entire company’s team. “I’m really honored to be named on that list. Because my work is so collaborative, I’m also very grateful for the team I have around me, and I was just so excited to share that moment with them, since they were a big part of it.”
The team at Bernath’s company, which has continued to grow since “Eitan Eats the World” went to production, has also been a fundamental part of promoting the book launch. “Even my parents are getting involved,” Bernath explained. “I brought my mom on camera for the very first time…and right before Pesach, my dad came and I made my matzah ball soup recipe from the cookbook. We’ve been creating really great content to promote the recipes.” He continued that he’s been having a blast creating videos that actually showcase the recipes from his cookbook, since they had been embargoed for so long. “It’s been a secret for so long, and I’m just excited to share them with everyone.”
Bernath has been working hard at getting publicity around the launch of his book, including a coveted slot on ABC’s Good Morning America, which took place only a few days after his interview with The Jewish Link. On the show, he appeared with his signature Jewish star necklace, and prepared his “sweet & smoky” guac burger recipe from the cookbook, which the hosts enjoyed thoroughly. He also demonstrated his smashed cucumber salad—yet another hit with the hosts and the audience, who cheered him on as he cooked.
Even with all of the media attention, Bernath has not forgotten about those who supported him from the very beginning, when he was just a pre-teen doing cooking demos around Teaneck. He has even made it a point to visit Congregation Arzei Darom, the synagogue where he grew up, as part of his launch tour. “I am certainly a product of my upbringing,” Bernath said. “ I’m always thankful for the supporters I’ve had from this community, and many of them get just as excited about my content now as they did back when I was twelve years old.”
Though nowadays, many of Bernath’s fans are not necessarily kosher consumers, the young chef has always kept the kosher-keeping audience in mind when creating his recipes. “Everything in ‘Eitan Eats the World’ is completely kosher,” he shared. “These are recipes that are not traditionally kosher, but have been adapted with great substitutes. Because this book is not necessarily geared toward the kosher world, I think it brings a unique culinary perspective to kosher cooking, and will push people to try new things in the kitchen.”
Bernath will be in his hometown of Teaneck, at Arzei Darom, on Monday, May 9, and at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey in Paramus on Tuesday, May 10. For more information and other book signing events, visit: https://www.eitanbernath.com/cookbook/.
By Channa Fischer