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Eitan Bernath on Becoming a Teenage Food Entrepreneur and Social Media Star In-depth interview with cookbook author, food personality, and content creator Eitan Bernath about starting an entertainment career as a child, teaming up with Drew Barrymore, and building an inspirational business empire before his 20th birthday.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways from this episode:

Your Audience Buys Into You First and Foremost — Eitan Bernath has his pulse on his fanbase. He understands that though he has amassed an online following that surpasses seven million, many who watch those videos online aren't always huge fans of cooking themselves.

Just Start! — There are always reasons to not do something. Eitan Bernath has never let overthinking be a point of paralysis for him when it comes to creating content. He encourages anybody who has an idea for video content to just get started and press record.

Ask For What You Want — Outside of taking the first step of getting started, Eitan Bernath is an advocate for the adage, "ask and you shall receive". It has worked out for him on his career and life path.


Eitan Bernath built a hugely successful and inspiring food empire before his 20th birthday.

Every once and a while, a young talent comes along that makes you ponder exactly what you were doing with your life when you were their age.

At 20-years-old, Eitan Bernath is one of the hottest names and biggest talents in the food entertainment industry. After an appearance on The Food Network's cooking competition show, Chopped as a high-spirited 11-year old, Eitan immediately got to work building his brand.

Being the unusually self-aware and decisive person that he is, Eitan knew he wanted this to be his business right away.

"I've treated this as a business since I was 12," the young entrepreneur tells Restaurant Influencers podcast host Shawn P. Walchef of CaliBBQ Media. "So when my episode aired on Chopped, I started a food blog and the third blog post on my website was sponsored."

People work for decades to generate revenue from content. Albeit only $75 or $100, 12-year-old Eitan was paid for a post only three write-ups in. How did he do it?

"I asked," he says matter of factly. After sending "hundreds of cold emails", he was finally contacted with a sponsorship opportunity.

"The number one way to get what you want in life is asking for it. If you don't ask for it, you're definitely not getting it," says Eitan Bernath.

That audacity has catapulted a kid with a dream into a young man with a growing empire. At age 19, Eitan locked a recurring role on The Drew Barrymore Show, which makes him the first TikTok Content creator to leverage the TikTok stardom into a regular television appearance.

Now at 20, one of Eitan's childhood aspirations is materializing as he launches his very first cookbook, Eitan Eats the World, in partnership with Clarkson Potter. Already a massive star across the social media platforms, Eitan has a distinct appreciation for being able to produce a cookbook.

"I think there's a sense of authority that comes with the cookbook," he describes.

Writing a Cookbook:

Eitan has been creating this cookbook for a large part of his life. As a youngster, he would create recipes to share with his ever growing fan base. However, there were some recipes that were just a little too good to share across the internet free of charge. Eitan would stash those recipes away for his mythical future cookbook. Fast-forward to today and those recipes set the foundation for his comfort foods that have found their way into Eitan Eats the World (released in May 2022).

"I really spent a lot of time making sure there's recipes in here for every cooking level," Eitan says of the cookbook. "Especially knowing that in my audience, there are a lot of people who don't cook."

That intuition is what has made Eitan a star. His keen ability to be a professional, but still welcoming and approachable. None of this would be possible without both an extreme belief in himself and an uncanny ability to activate a plan despite the presence of fear. Once he began leaning into video more, his life changed for the better and his business grew. But there were no fancy tricks or schemes to ensure this happened.

The first thing Eitan did to amass his seven million followers plus followers across social media platforms was get started. The second thing was to gain an understanding of what works, including how to navigate detractors and negative commenters.

As Eitan grows his influence, he has plans to take over other aspects of the entertainment industry. He has dreams of crossing over into the fashion industry to cover magazines, such as Vogue and one day hosting Saturday Night Live. With his already impressive track record and gregarious personality, it is only a matter of time that these things become a reality.

When asked by host Shawn Walchef of the podcast Restaurant Influencers for tips on how someone could follow in his footsteps or even start their own journey of digital storytelling, Eitan says, "my number one advice for anyone even thinking about starting with creating video content online is to start."

That's simple, but still important, advice for anyone who wants to learn to start making online content to build an audience. Eitan says short-form video has been the biggest ROI piece of his emerging business, but none of it would be possible without hitting record and getting started.



NOMINATE A RESTAURANT INFLUENCER — Do you know someone who is killing it on social media? Let us know by emailing influencers@calibbq.media or sending the @calibbqmedia team a DM on social media.


Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Popmenu is also a sponsor of the Restaurant Influencers podcast. We wanted to share with our audience this powerful opportunity to help your restaurant reclaim the power of your phone now. Learn more about Popmenu Answering.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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