Homemade Podcast Episode 23: Eitan Bernath on TikTok, Cooking with Family, and Food as Entertainment
Eighteen-year-old chef Eitan Bernath has built a business on 60-second cooking videos. As the social media platform he's best known for, TikTok, limits videos to a minute, Bernath developed a recipe, so to speak, for condensing his how-tos into rapid-fire breakdowns of measured-out ingredients and steps.
While Bernath's YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook demos run longer, even up to 10 minutes, none would be complete without his brand of attention-grabbing, almost-urgent enthusiasm. This he credits to Guy Fieri's influence. But Bernath, too, deserves credit for his self-taught skills and strategies that have attracted his growing fanbase.
Bernath shares tricks of the trade with Homemade host, Martie Duncan. Their conversation covers everything from how to make his popular grilled cheese sandwich to why a video of his high school cafeteria went viral. He also tells us about preferring his deep fryer to video games as a kid, off-camera cooking with his cousin and grandmothers during the holidays, and dividing up tasks on family taco nights. Download it for free at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts beginning November 11.
About Eitan Bernath
At 11 years old, Teaneck, New Jersey, native Eitan Bernath competed on the first kids' episode of Food Network's "Chopped." Between then and an appearance on "Guy's Grocery Games" in 2017, Bernath began building a blog and social media following. He has received recognition from People Magazine, The New York Times, and other outlets. And he's not slowing down. The business-minded teenager continues to expand his brand and will begin Columbia University in 2021.
MARTIE DUNCAN Hey, y'all. Welcome to this week's episode of Homemade. We're gonna do a little something different this week. This is going to be fun. I have a YouTube and social media sensation, who is also quite a good cook. He's done all the traditional competition cooking shows. "Chopped," "Guy's Grocery Games." And he has found millions of followers on social media, who love him for his style of cooking and his quirky personality. And he's 18 years old.
Ya'll, welcome to Homemade, Eitan — Eitan Bernath.
Did I get it right?
EITAN BERNATH Hello! Oh, yeah. Everyone pronounces it a little bit differently.
MARTIE You say it for us. Eitan.
EITAN Eitan Bernath. You know the whole joke, like, you can call me what you want, don't call me late for dinner? That's very much applies to me.
MARTIE Me too. Nobody ever gets my name right, so. But I'm glad I got it on the third try. Listen, I'm just going to kind of roll through this Instagram, 350,000 some odd followers. TikTok, 1.3 million followers. YouTube, almost 60,000 followers. And then you've got Facebook, 100,000 plus followers. And you're on Twitter, too. All right. You've got a website. Over 200 recipes that you've made and you've tested and a lot of them you've also videoed. You call yourself a "food and lifestyle content creator." So why don't you start by telling us what it is that you do.
EITAN Yes. So I think when I started out cooking and people heard that I was interested in cooking and working in food, kind of everyone told me don't. And they told me, all you could do is work in a restaurant or cater. People really don't realize the plethora of jobs in the food industry, especially in food media. So, at its most basic form, content creator or content creation is creating an entertaining piece of content. So content can be written. Content can be a photo. Content could be a video or really anything of the sort. And creating it and then distributing it out to people at its most basic form.
So for me that can mean anything from filming a 15-second TikTok of me showing how to make homemade butter. It could mean a three-minute IGTV video. It could mean a 10-minute YouTube video. At the end of the day, my goal is really to entertain. If you asked me, like, three years ago how I'd describe myself, I'd probably just say a chef. Now, I'd really say an entertainer, where obviously food is the core, but my main goal is to entertain and educate.
MARTIE So that's what we do. I do that. You do that. We're food entertainers. We want to make people's lives richer and better by the content that we create. We want to give them something to think about, something to talk about, and most definitely something to eat. Right?
EITAN People are always like, "Why do you like cooking?" I'm like, "You got to eat." Like, that is the best part.
MARTIE Eitan, wouldn't you say it's the great unifier, too? Like, us, we're several generations apart. But look, we're gonna have a fun time and a great conversation because food brings people together. I don't care what your ethnicity is, your background, your age. Everybody can find common ground on food, right?
EITAN Yeah. I mean, right, that's one of the things I really love about food. I think we live in such a divided world, both politically, just everything. There's so much that divides us, and I truly believe food is something that really brings us all together. And that could be everything from bringing us together at a table, physically or bring us together through conversations and dialog about food.
MARTIE That's right. OK, so, let's start with TikTok. I see people dancing, mostly. I didn't know you could cook on TikTok. You made butter and it got like a zillion views. Tell me, how did how do you do that? Educate me a little bit.
EITAN Yes. At its most basic form, TikTok is a video-forward social media platform. So the max you can post is 60 seconds. It is vertical video, filmed on phones, primarily, because it kind of has a very relatable aspect.
MARTIE Got it.
EITAN And while you're correct that a large part of the platform and majority of the top creators are doing dancing or lip-syncing videos, TikTok actually has a plethora of other types of content. There's food content. There's educational content. I've seen accounts of someone who works with cadavers and teaches you what the inside of the human body looks like. Like, there is literally everything.
You're making a face. Yeah. It's a little gross. But it's actually a funny story. I actually made a bet with my teacher. We were talking about TikTok in class. And, at the time, I think I had like 100,000 on Instagram. I'm like, "You know what? I bet you I could get a million views by the end of the year on one video." I made this bet and the contingency was, if I won the bet, the class will have to purchase me dinner from a restaurant. And if they won the bet, then I would have to cook the whole class food.
MARTIE Yeah, that's a fun bet.
EITAN We made the bet and then — I'm like a very planned out person. Like, I like writing down all my ideas. I like having plans for things. So I already had a Google doc with ten TikTok ideas that I thought would go viral. I went right to the top of the list, which was it was a trend at the time called "My Best Friend's Rich Check," where basically, someone yells, "My best friend's rich check!" Then it would be music behind it.
MARTIE Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait, wait, wait. My best friend's what? Rich?
EITAN Yeah. It was basically people flaunting their friend's money.
MARTIE You speak a language I don't even understand. We're gonna get to that in just a minute. We're gonna do like a translation and you're gonna tell me what things mean. But I just want to make sure our listeners knew what you were saying.
EITAN I love it.
MARTIE Rich track. And what that means is you're telling — you're showing off your rich friends' lives?
EITAN Yeah, it's a little bit of an odd trend. But I kind of took that as inspiration.
EITAN And my high school at the time — I’ve now graduated — has the craziest cafeteria. It's basically just a restaurant in the middle of a school. So I did my own version of it, which was "World's Best School Cafeteria Check."
MARTIE I saw that.
EITAN And if you think about it, the demographic on the app are kids who are in school, and school lunch is a big thing for kids. Most people probably hate their school lunch. So, when you're going for that wow factor I knew is was something that, A, would relate with the viewers on the app, which was kids my age and younger who go to school. And it had that kind of wow factor because, for most people, their school cafeteria is not something they would want to show off.
Long story long, shall we say, within four hours of making the bet and uploading the video, my video hit a million views. I think to date it has something like seven or eight million views.
MARTIE What? What?
MARTIE Unbelievable. OK, so, on TikTok, you are one of the top creators in food. How often do you post new videos?
EITAN So, it kind of varies. My goal is always to post two videos today on TikTok.
MARTIE A day? My life isn't that interesting to post two videos a day.
EITAN To be honest, at the height of, like, when I was growing the fastest on TikTok, I was posting about three to four cooking videos a day, which was insane.
MARTIE You use a lot of words that I don't understand. A lot of your recipes and some of your videos say "bougie" this and "bougie" that. What the heck is that?
EITAN I love that. OK...
MARTIE OK, and, and — there's like kinds, like depths of bougie.
EITAN Oh, yes, yes. For sure.
MARTIE OK, I want to know what that is.
EITAN OK. So, bougie, basically. So I don't know if you know, there's a song called “Bad and Boujee.”
MARTIE I've heard that, believe it or not.
MARTIE Not one not on the top of my playlist, but I have heard it.
EITAN Yes. I think that song probably popularized the word. It kind of just means like fancy, like kind of over the top, extra. And actually, I could be wrong, so don't quote me on this, but I believe — I was one time learning in one of my history classes and some type of class of people in some history in time called like the bourgeoisie or something.
MARTIE Bourgeoisie, that's right.
EITAN OK, yeah, and I believe there's some correlation between that word and the slang word of bougie that I feel like we would need to ask, like, a linguist or a historian about. But I think there's a connection.
MARTIE So you say bougie, meaning, like, if you want to use it, you say because it's super rich? Like maybe, like, a really rich macaroni and cheese or something like that? Would you call that bougie?
EITAN More in the sense of, I would describe myself as very loud and over the top.
MARTIE I'd say so, yeah.
EITAN Yeah. So for me — while everything that I think that I say and do is true and accurate, I definitely would say, like, "I..." Instead of like saying, "I'm going to make chocolate cookies." Like, "Today, I'm making the world's best chocolate chip cookies." Especially on TikTok, it's very important to catch people's attention.
EITAN On TikTok, you really have a short amount of time to capture people's attention because the way people use the app is that they just constantly scroll very quickly. So unless you're making the world's best chocolate chip cookies, "bougie" grilled cheese, or something that is different from what you're used to hearing, you need to use something like that to catch their attention.
MARTIE OK. You have a "Boujee Grilled Cheese" on your website. I want you to walk me through that. And tell me what makes it bougie.
EITAN Got it. OK. So, I actually learned this technique watching a video from Jamie Oliver. He's incredible. Also I love the accent. And so he had a video that I was just fascinated by because, to be honest, grilled cheese is never really been a food that excited me that much. And basically, long story short, what he does is he takes his grilled cheese, makes it like normal grilled cheese, but then you take it out of the pan, make sure using a nonstick, you then sprinkle cheese directly onto the pan, around the whole thing. Put the grilled cheese back onto the pan. Let that cheese on the bottom kind of carmelize, get nice and delicious. You then stick your spatula underneath, lift it up. The cheese falls down. It hangs and then forms a crown that then you let sit for 30 seconds, get hard. Flip it upside down. It then has that crown. So I called it "Boujee" because it's a little fancy, like it's a grilled cheese with a crown.
MARTIE So, it's a fancy grilled cheese that makes it bougie.
EITAN In my book. Maybe not in other people's books.
MARTIE And it has a crown! No, no. I make mine like that but mine never had the crown action. I like that idea. I make mine where I do use, like, whatever scraps of cheeses I have, you know. Like three or four different kinds. And then on the outside, when I'm getting ready to take it out of the pan and I've gotten it all nice and crispy, I put a little extra butter, and then I put a few slices of whatever cheese.
MARTIE And then griddle that cheese and it griddles into it. But I don't make a crown. I'm I have to try that.
EITAN Yeah, you get the gooey cheese on the inside and the caramelized crunchy cheese.
MARTIE There's nothing more yummy than, like, griddled cheese. OK, and what are some other words that we might need to incorporate into our language if we want to communicate with TikTokers or our kids or our grandkids?
EITAN Umm, let's see. I mean, you definitely have to like and you definitely just have to know who Charlie D'Amelio is. Do you know who Charlie D'Amelio is?
MARTIE I do not. So go ahead.
EITAN OK. Charlie D'Amelio is the number-one followed person on the app. I would say how many followers she has, but she goes up by almost a million a day. So I think she's in the mid-90 millions.
MARTIE What does she do?
EITAN She does dancing videos. I actually think it's pretty cool. I was following her when she had 240,000 followers, way back before the world, like, discovered her. And now she's not only the biggest star on TikTok but one of the biggest social media stars, or if not right now the biggest, in the social media world. So you definitely need to know who she is. You don't have to be a fan. Some people like her, people don't. But it's with everyone on social media.
EITAN But if you want to be well versed in TikTok, I think knowing who Charlie D'Amelio is will get you relatable with the kids, for sure.
MARTIE All right. That's what we want. Because in the end of the day, you know, when we sit around the table at night, around the dinner table and we want to have a conversation, you have to be able to relate to your kids. And you kind of have to know what's what, even though they're going to roll their eyes and think we're like complete losers, for sure, but at least we'll have some idea of what's going on.
Speaking of dinner table conversation, did you grow up in a home where people cooked?
EITAN Yes. So I get a lot of questions, "Oh, your parents must love that they never have to cook." Or things like that. The reality is, food's been a really big part of my life ever since I can remember. My mom cooked, my dad cooked some. Not as much as my mom. He has kind of his, like, specialties that he makes. And food's just really always been a big part.
To be honest, in some interviews, reporters have written that my mom's food was bad. They misunderstood. She makes very good food, but my mom makes very traditional Jewish food. She knows what she knows how to make. And for me, especially when I was younger and especially now, I was really interested in all these different cuisines that she just didn't know how to make. So I would watch on TV.
I've always been a really big Guy Fieri fan and watch him make these — I mean, this isn’t necessarily from a different part of the world. But him watch make, let's say, like, beer-battered onion rings with a guac burger. Or I'd watch someone make these complicated Indian curries. Like Mom, can you make that? And she's like, "I don't know how to make that." So she's like, "Why don't you try?" So I got in the kitchen, and to be honest, in the beginning, it really was just for me. It was like if I do this, I get to eat the food I like to eat.
And I was very motivated by that, just eating. I don't look like it because I have the metabolism of a racehorse, but all I do all day is eat. So I'm very motivated by the whole eating part. And then through that process, I just fell in love with being in the kitchen. I fell in love with the creative aspect. And it's relaxing. There's a never-ending amount of things to learn. I don't think there's anyone who could say they know everything about food.
MARTIE What's your favorite recipe that your mom makes?
EITAN I always say my favorite food to make with my family is fish tacos or any type of tacos. Because we all kind of man a different part of the process. Like, I'll be cooking the fish. My brother will be setting the table. My dad will be making my salsa. My mom will be doing this. It's kind of like we all do a little different part. It comes together and it makes a delicious taco. It's kind of like very symbolic, I feel like. So, I really enjoy that.
MARTIE I think tacos are also something that's quite unifying 'cause because what's not to love about a taco? And if you don't want a typical ground beef taco, you can do a fish taco and you don't like that, you can do some pulled pork or chicken or whatever you want.
EITAN Yes. And just to quickly answer the question so people don't think I was avoiding the mom question. There's someone listening who's gonna be like, "OK, Eitan didn't want to answer that. Does he not like any of his mom's food?" Um, no, my favorite food that my mom makes is — I don't actually don't know what it's called, but she makes this really good — I want to say it's a brisket.
EITAN It's this brisket with a dark brown sauce and onions and like caramelized onions. It is just delicious. So, I should probably — honestly, I don’t even ask her what it's called. I just eat it when I see her make it 'cause it's really delicious.
MARTIE I mean, most kids don't ask their mom what they fix. They just eat it.
MARTIE All right. So, your biggest food inspiration, you mentioned Guy Fieri, is he one of your big inspirations?
EITAN Yeah. I mean, if you just look on my walls, it's like, oh, it's kind of like blocked, but right over there is the picture of Guy that actually got signed when I went on his show. And I have other pictures other places. So Guy's definitely been my biggest inspiration in the kitchen.
I think he brought to me a real excitement about food. I get asked all the time, like, "How are you always so excited about food?" I mean, the reality is, I'm human, I'm not always excited. I experience other emotions as well. But I think beyond just like the culinary aspect, he really taught me a level of excitement that when I'm creating my videos, my goal in the back of my head is I want this person to be as excited about food as I am. I think for a lot of people, food, it can be very daunting. Cooking is scary. And I want to be able to make people experience the same excitement that Guy brought into me with cooking. That's always my goal to do with other people.
MARTIE So, you're self-taught, and you basically teach yourself through videos and online tutorials and other chefs' and cooks' videos and things like that? That's how you've taught yourself?
EITAN I'm very much like a do-it-yourself, learn-it-yourself person. So it was a lot of watching Food Network, a lot of YouTube. I always tell people, like, my method when I started cooking, if I wanted to learn how to make a souffle, I would go on YouTube, search, "how to make a souffle." I would watch the first 10 videos, see what are the similar things people do, what are different things that people do. And then based off of all those videos I watched, I then tried to figure out, OK, this looked like — in this video I liked how they looked more, so I'm going to try their technique. I'm going to use this technique from here. And for me, it was really just about like kind of using the endless resources online.
I have taken some classes at certain culinary schools from time to time, but a question I get asked a lot actually is about like post-high school education and culinary school. And I kind of have a point of view, at least for me, that a lot of people feel differently about but as of right now, I don't have any plans to attend culinary school.
I don't not want to go to culinary school because I think I know everything. I do not think I know everything. There is endless amount of things for me to learn. I just think that there's other ways of learning that I could really curate my own view of food and rather than culinary school, actually, I will be attending Columbia next year.
MARTIE But you're an entrepreneur, so, yeah, go get all that education you need to build the empire that you're obviously already well into building. I think that's a very smart move on your part.
You're listening to Homemade. We'll be right back after the break.
I'm Martie Duncan, and my guest today is social media food star Eitan Bernath.
All right. You make a lot of famous foods. Like, recreate those, make them at home, so don't buy the packaged thing, make this. So one of the ones I was intrigued by, your homemade peanut butter cups.
EITAN Ohh, those are good.
MARTIE Yeah, they look great. I haven't tried them yet, but I'm going to. Walk me through how you do that one.
EITAN Really for me it's about, what are people interested in? Well, I really love complicated Indian curries and classic Mexican stews and things like that. The reality is, is as a content creator, while I always wanna be authentic to what excites me, I also — A, it's a business. So I want to make content that does well because it's a business. And various platforms like Facebook and YouTube and IGTV, for me, are monetized. So to pay the bills and pay for people to edit and pay for all of the very many things that involve, as you know, being content creator, it's a business also. So I really try I think about what are things that will capture people's attention, what are the things that people are intrigued? You know the show, "How It's Made?" You ever see that?
MARTIE Yes, of course.
EITAN One of my favorite shows as a kid, because I just feel like we all have a fascination with these things that we use or eat in our everyday life. And then when we are told how it's made, like we never even thought about it necessarily before. So honestly, it's probably very much inspired by that show. Where for me to think of, OK, what are things people want to know how to make? So back to the Reese's Peanut Butter one. What I'll do it is come up with the idea. How do I actually execute it? Is it something I've already made? Is it something that I need to learn? Then film it in the most energetic way possible. I tend to do quite a lot of throwing.
MARTIE I notice that you throw a lot of things.
EITAN It's all about garnering people's attention. So I'll start the video like, "Are you still out here buying butter?" And then I'll chuck a stick of butter behind me, which really captured people's attention. And then I'll go, "No, we make it at home," and then show the homemade butter.
So for me, it's really all about capturing the attention through some shock value, showing someone something that they would be fascinated to learn how to make. And then throughout the video, it's important about keeping high energy, keeping it entertaining because at the end of the day, the goal is to get people to watch the whole video, as much of it as possible. So for me, I really think about what do people want to see being made. How can I show it in an entertaining way that captures attention? And how can I keep people watching?
MARTIE I think you've got the magic formula. I mean, Facebook's not that easy. I have the same 15,000 people for 10 years. Yeah. So you've got the magic formula for sure.
EITAN Definitely took a while to crack. I mean, for many years I was that like 3,000 followers. And once I started really learning about what their algorithms look for there in terms of the videos, it was almost like a switch went off or a lightbulb went on. And I'm like, OK, now I got this. And honestly, kind of like what you said is, I generally feel like at this point, especially for Facebook, I almost have a formula of like, what can I do to get a video that will do well? I mean, I just posted a video earlier this week of homemade peanut butter. In the past, I think four or five days since I posted it and has no around five million views and 15,000 shares.
EITAN It's insane.
MARTIE Wow. And who doesn't want to know how to make homemade peanut butter? I mean...
EITAN Exactly! It's a fun project.
MARTIE And it's more delicious. All right, so, speaking of, walk us through that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup recipe.
EITAN Oh yes, I got off a little tangent.
MARTIE That's OK.
EITAN OK, Reese's Peanut Butter cups are actually ridiculously easy to make. Obviously the outside's chocolate, you melt chocolate. You can use from milk chocolate to dark chocolate based on your preferences. I'm kind of a dark chocolate guy.
EITAN Do you like milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
MARTIE Dark. Dark, dark, dark.
EITAN Dark. Yes, 100 percent, yes. And the inside, I don’t know what they actually use, but to mimic what they make, to make something equally as delicious in my mind, is you take peanut butter, whether homemade or not, I will not judge you guys. And you blend it up with graham crackers and powdered sugar. The exact amounts are on my website, if you want that, it's on EitanBernath.com. You blend it up, there's probably also a little bit of butter in there if I'm remembering correctly, some vanilla extract if you wanna be...
EITAN Well, you don't have to add little extract, but if you want to, you can.
MARTIE It does make chocolate taste better, believe it or not, y'all. Chocolate....
MARTIE Needs that little tinge of vanilla, doesn't it?
EITAN Yeah. I know. I love it when I do recipes that like involve like chocolate cookies. Like why are you adding vanilla. It's chocolate. I'm like, vanilla makes chocolate taste like better chocolate.
MARTIE Yes it does. All right. So you add that little bougie vanilla, and then what?
EITAN Add the bougie vanilla, now that we're down with the language. Then, you kind of blend it all together. It forms this almost, I want to say almost like playdough-like consistency, even though that's not an appealing word to use. But it's very malleable. You then kind of form it into the little rounds. I recommend using like cupcake liner's as a great thing.
MARTIE I figured that's what you used. You even had the little edges.
EITAN The little ridges, yeah. So, you kind of put the chocolate in the bottom. Scrape it around the sides to make sure you got the edges. You then plop in a little bit of that peanut butter mixture, a little more chocolate on top. Kind of make that little flattened out by just shaking it. And repeat with the rest. Pop it in the fridge. I know there will be someone listening saying, "What about tempered chocolate?" I'm not super into food science. I'll just probably use chocolate do you don't have to temper or just keep it in the fridge. It's delicious regardless, in my opinion.
MARTIE All right. We've got the holidays coming up. It's not too far away. I'm sure your family, whether it's Thanksgiving or one of the big Jewish holidays that we have coming up, Hanukkah, I'm sure you have special things that you do, but the holidays at our house would not be complete without blank on the table. Fill in the blank.
EITAN So can I say family at the table first? I think that's always important; I think my favorite part of the holidays. Although they're not really on the table, they're sitting around it.
MARTIE I think that's a lovely. Love that.
EITAN Yeah. So I think family's very important part of that. It's something I really look forward to. It's really one of the few times that, like, everyone in the family all gets together from both sides of my family. But I think family's the most important part. It's definitely a time when — I would say most of the cooking I do is on camera nowadays because of much content I create.
EITAN I honestly try to make the holidays a lot of times a time when I cook not with the camera. So, cook with family sometimes. One of my mom's cousins who actually worked in the food industry for a while, I'll cook with him. Shout out to you, Sean.
MARTIE Yeah, Sean.
EITAN Or cook with my grandmas and different things like that. So for me, it's really I think family's the most important. And then next to that — weird segue from family to this — next is mashed potatoes. I think mashed potatoes are one of the most incredible things in the entire universe. And I have an unpopular opinion that French fries dipped in mashed potatoes is delicious, and anybody who has not tried it, they, they — their life is going to be the same after.
MARTIE I've never tried it. But how could you not like potato on potato?
EITAN Not only potato on potato, crispy potato dipped into creamy potato. There is no sauce better for French fries than mashed potatoes, which I know is technically not a sauce. And I will stick by that till the day I die.
MARTIE I'll give you credit for that one. I have never tried it. Never thought about trying it.
EITAN You got to.
MARTIE But I would. Now that you've you brought it up, I will try it. I do like fried potato patties with leftover mashed potatoes, like if I have some. I'll put in a little bit of egg, maybe some cheese or scallion or onion or whatever I have. And then fry it where it gets really crispy.
EITAN Ooh. Kind of like a latke almost.
MARTIE Yeah, almost. But I use the leftover mashed potatoes rather than grating the potatoes. Because then you bite and you get that crispy, crispy bit on the outside.
EITAN That sounds delicious.
MARTIE And then that squishy, lovely, pillowy mashed potato on the inside. That's one of my favorites.
EITAN Has anyone ever done deep fried mashed potatoes? That sounds pretty incredible.
MARTIE Oh, yeah. Well, like so you know what arancini is, right?
EITAN Yeah, almost like arancini balls.
MARTIE So, similar, like, but instead of rice, use potato. So I've done those. Yeah, because, you know, I'm from the South. We fry everything. We'll fry a pickle. We'll fry marshmallow.
EITAN You'll like this story. My Hanukkah present — I don't know exactly how old I was, but I was definitely like eight, nine, or 10 — one year was a deep fryer. That's how much I love — like every other kid, I get to school, you're like, "Oh, what you get?" My friend's like, "Oh, I got a video game. I got this, I got that." I'm like, "I got a deep fryer." And everyone thought I was crazy. But that deep fryer, I can't think of any single other item in my life that has brought me as much joy as that deep fryer did.
MARTIE I get it. Yeah, I do, a hundred percent get it. Like, sing your own song. Whatever makes you happy, do it. You got a you got a deep fryer. Awesome. You know? I think that's great.
All right. So, tell me a little bit about what you've got coming up. What's new on the horizon for you besides continuing to make these wonderful educational and entertaining videos? I see where you just signed with a big talent agency, so I feel like there's something big coming.
EITAN Yes. So a few months ago, I was really excited. I signed with William Morris Endeavor. I signed with also two managers and a management company, Uncommon, shout out to all of you. And I recently also got a lawyer. And I'm really working onjust kind of building my brand and expanding my team.
MARTIE So you're official official now. You got the lawyer.
EITAN Yes. So there's a lot of things going on. I work on expanding my team. There's other kind of parts of a team of someone in the entertainment industry, like publicists, things like that that are very important.
MARTIE What advice would you give the kids listening or even the parents of the kids who want to pursue a career in food?
EITAN I would say for food, and more specifically food entertainment and food media, I think having a true love of food is really important. Especially in food media or really any type of content creation, I'm sure you've experienced it before, everyone does. Burnout is a real thing. And though I am genuinely excited about every video I make after your four billionth video, you sometimes can experience burnout. So, I think one thing is to make sure that you have a real love of the food and that you don't let whatever your occupation is get in the way of that.
Because honestly, there definitely have been times throughout my years cooking where because of work I was not in the mood to cook. I was like, ugh, I need a break from cooking, or something like that, 100 percent. But honestly, the kind of biggest advice I would give to kids, specifically in terms of creating content on social media or a lot of kids nowadays are like, what do you do doing grow up? They want to be famous on social media.
MARTIE Or just be famous in general, for nothing.
EITAN In general. And well, I think fame is relative and someone who is super famous to one person is irrelevant to the other. I think the biggest thing that I've learned growing up in the public eye — because it's definitely been an interesting experience — is that there's a misconception that when you become a celebrity or when you become an influencer or when you have a large following, that you're going into it for then people to love you and that you're gonna get tons of love.
But the reality is, is whenever you do something in front of a lot of people, you will also get a lot of hate. And this is something that I truly believe and I say this and I think a lot of people think I'm just saying it but not meaning it. I think the most important thing for anyone who's getting started in social media, in anything that is in front of a large audience or attempting to do that, is to not overvalue the negative comments, but also the positive comments.
I think it is very important to not let, A, the negative comments get to you. Because the way I see it — and I genuinely, genuinely mean this and it took me a very long time to learn this — is when I see someone comment something hateful or negative for deceitful or rude on one of my posts, there's two sides. One is I generally feel bad for that person. I try to think about imagine having nothing better to do in that moment than try to put down another person. Like, I generally try to get like, imagine that. That's sad. I feel bad for that person. So I try to come to it with a sense of empathy. I feel bad they felt the need to do that. Therefore, I will not respond back and try to tear them down. They clearly have something that they're dealing with that is hard.
And to be honest from a business perspective on social media, every comment is helpful. People don't realize, if you don't like someone on social media, do not comment on their posts. If someone watches my YouTube video so they can then hate on it, they watched an ad before watching the video, which then made revenue for me. Then by them commenting it then told the algorithm, "Hey, this person liked the video so much. They then commented."
MARTIE They said something. That's right!
EITAN Which then shows the video to more people and generates more revenue. So that's kind of how I see the negative comments. Which is why I don't let them get to me. And the positive, honestly, I think it's the same thing.
I think there's so many instances, especially for young people, where fame can get to their head or where all the positive comments. Because at any moment in time, I can go on my phone and whether it's comments or direct messages, there are hundreds, if not thousands of messages every time of people telling me how inspiring I am, how much they love me, how amazing I am. All these things that I very much appreciate. But to be totally honest, I don't let any of them get to my head because I truly believe too much of anything can be bad. Too much hate can be bad. Too much positive can be bad. I think if you listen to the both extremes, they can hurt you and your head can get way too big, which can lead to a lot of things. I think really it's about making sure to stay grounded and not listen to the two extremes.
MARTIE Eitan, you are wise beyond your years, my son.
EITAN Thank you.
MARTIE Yeah, wise beyond your years. That's such good advice for all of us.
EITAN But I mean, it applies to read like regular life, as well. I mean..
EITAN So if you're in school and a kid comes up to you and says something mean to you, like, think about it from their point view also. Like, I imagine having nothing better to do than try to take down another person, whether it's online or offline, and just treat them with empathy. I think it applies to social media and real life in quotes as well.
MARTIE Well, I think you're really smart and very intuitive. All right. So I want to wrap this up, but I want to know: If I had to make one recipe from your website, which one would I make?
EITAN Recipe, I would say, would be my butter paneer, aka paneer makhani recipe. It is this deliciously rich and flavorful Indian curry. I like to make my own homemade paneer cheese. It's ridiculously easy. Some people don't like when I use the word "paneer cheese" because it's redundant. Because paneer means cheese in Hindi.
MARTIE Is cheese. Yeah.
EITAN But for people who don't know what paneer is, I like to say paneer cheese, just so they know. Just like saying challah, we say challah bread.
So the homemade paneer, you fry up these cubes and you make this delicious sauce with sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, loads of spices, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric — you can even fry up some chilies in there. And it's just rich tomato sauce that adds obviously quite a lot of butter. Hence the name butter paneer, or makhani in Hindi is butter. So paneer makhani, cheese and butter.
MARTIE Nothing better.
EITAN Oh yeah, for sure. There's heavy cream there. It is just so delicious. Like my mouth is watering just thinking about it. It's something I honestly make at my house once a week.
MARTIE I might make that tonight. It sounds phenomenal.
MARTIE You just mentioned a great number of seasonings. What's your favorite seasoning?
EITAN OK. That's a hard one. Anyone who's seen my YouTube channel knows that behind me on my set there — which is actually, fun fact, in my garage, that I built — is "I love spices." For me, it's really what got me into food is all those flavors. So definitely hard to pick one. I think I'll give my top three, if I may.
MARTIE You may.
EITAN Top three. One is cumin. I really love cumin. It's so versatile. It's used in so many cuisines. Whether you're making Mexican food, Indian food, Jamaican food.
EITAN Barbeque. There's just so many uses. So definitely cumin. Next to that would probably be chili powder. I love spice, whether that's a chipotle, a cayenne, an Indian type of chili powder. I love spice. I always kind of joke, but I also mean it, when I'm eating Indian food, if I am not sweating then it was not spicy enough.
MARTIE I got it.
EITAN And the last one — those were savory. We'll go for sweet. Cinnamon.
EITAN I love cinnamon in all desserts.
MARTIE Me too. I love cinnamon. All right. So if I'm gonna watch one video from all that you've done, that would really be a signature video for you, which one would it be?
EITAN You know what, I really think the recent homemade peanut butter, I think that really encapsulates kind of the type of videos I make. I'm really proud of the energy I brought into the video. The excitement. The way I shot the video. Because it was just a lot of thought that goes into it every shot. How I'm framing it. The words I'm saying, the crazy movements I'm doing on a camera. That's not random. I really do think about it. And aside from the fact that it performed well, which is always an indicator that it was a good video, I believe, even though the numbers are not the most important thing, I really think that’s something that I'm very proud of. So I definitely would say that video, for sure.
MARTIE Listen, Eitan. I have had the most fun getting to know you. And you have been...
EITAN You too.
MARTIE Really helpful. I always learn something from these interviews. And I think today I've learned across cultures, across generations, across different types of business opportunities. You've taught me a lot. So, I am so happy to have gotten to know you better. I hope we'll be friends. And I'm going to show up at your studio one day and you're gonna teach me a TikTok or two. And I'm going to be signing up just so I can watch you.
EITAN Awesome. That sounds like a plan. And thank you so much for having me. This is so much fun. I'm super excited I had the opportunity to talk about all of this with you.
MARTIE Me too. And listen, please come back again one of these days. Wishing you all the best. I can't wait to see all the amazing things that happen in your career because I know it's all coming.
EITAN Thank you so much.
MARTIE Good luck.
Eitan Bernath is a cook and social media star. You can find him on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and, of course, TikTok. And if you want to be able to find him, I'm going to spell his name for you. It's Eitan, E-I-T-A-N. Bernath, B-E-R-N-A-T-H. His website is EitanBernath.com. You'll find videos and recipes and. a lot of fun there, as well.
Next week on the show, Chef Jet Tila is going to teach us some simple concepts about flavor profiles that will help you cook all kinds of Asian food with more confidence.
JET TILA I personally am fascinated by Japanese cuisine too. Because it's, every prefecture is a different universe. Very few cultures that dedicate themselves so deeply into one thing, doing one thing perfectly for multiple generations. And it's amazing to me.
MARTIE He is such a great teacher. You'll definitely want. to hear this episode. Please subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss it, and subscribe to the podcast so we know how we're doing.
And don't forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-tos from the world's largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This podcast was recorded in Birmingham, edited in Atlanta, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts.
Homemade is produced by Allrecipes with Executive Editor Jason Burnett. Thanks to our Pod People production team: Rachael King, Eliza Lambert, Tanya Ott, and Maya Kroth.
Thanks for listening! I’m Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade.