NEW YORK — As a kid, Eitan Bernath didn’t collect baseball cards, comic books or coins like his peers did. He collected kitchen tools. “My fondest memories from my life are always around food,” he says.
Mind you, that life is still young. Bernath is just 20, but he’s managed to harness his love of cooking to become a social media influencer and TV personality. This spring, he’s released his first cookbook, “Eitan Eats the World,” published by Clarkson Potter.
The book contains 85 comfort food recipes from across the globe, from a Sweet & Smoky Guac Burger to Turkish Red Lentil Soup and a Kurdish Shamburak or a Israeli-Style Sesame Schnitzel.
“Knowledge is power and knowledge is so important,” Bernath says. “The more you learn about the world around you, the better you can be an informed and kind citizen for the world.”
Bernath is part of a wave of young food stars who got their springboard from social media, in his case a strong TikTok following. He has 350 million people viewing his content in 150-plus countries, and has a production and entertainment company that employs six people.
He made his first TV appearance on Food Network’s “Chopped” at age 11 — also appearing on “Guy’s Grocery Games” with restaurateur Guy Fieri a few years later — and started creating content when he was 12. He viewed it as a job, monetizing his blog after his third post.
“I was excited about doing it before anyone was watching,” he says. “I was truly just as excited when I was getting 100 views when I was 12 to now and I’m getting millions.”
He is the principal culinary contributor for “The Drew Barrymore Show” and was recently named to the Forbes list of “30 Under 30” for Food and Drink.
Raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, Bernath says both his parents were educators, and they used food as a vehicle to teach him and his brother about the world around them.
“Growing up in a Jewish household, food is such a central part of community and culture, as it is