The culinary wunderkind who first made a splash in Jewish media as a kosher contestant on Food Network’s Chopped back in 2012, and is now known to the masses as a TikTok star and resident culinary contributor to The Drew Barrymore Show, brings global flavor and his signature panache to the page in his inaugural cookbook, Eitan Eats the World.
Each of the book’s eighty-five recipes takes readers to a different region of the world, with nineteen-year-old Bernath as a convivial guide. A recipe for saffron and cardamom kulfi (an Indian frozen sweet — something like a creamsicle but suited to a more refined taste) is sandwiched between a seasoned spin on the Americana blueberry hand pie and a recipe for five-ingredient brownies (a tried-and-true version of the three-ingredient “food hack” cake that found social media stardom in the summer of 2021).
In the section Handhelds (a clever catch-all for the many layered and portable meals Eitan Eats offers) readers find recipes for the grilled meat-stuffed pitas called arayes, chicken satay skewers, and a vegetarian take on the Vietnamese banh mi. Other recipes include Kurdish shamburak (a thin boat of dough cradling spiced meat and potatoes), mushroom bobo (a stew made rich with coconut milk and yuca), and other more lightly seasoned dishes: lush scrambled eggs, cornflake french toast, tomato soup, and pizza. In a less adept hand, this mingling of recipes might give a reader whiplash. However, Bernath’s headnotes and introductions cheer readers on as they navigate new flavors, techniques, and combinations.
While Jewish food is not the focus of the book, Bernath includes kosher alternatives (using non-dairy yogurt in the tzatziki accompanying beef skewers, for example) or modifies dishes to make them kosher from the start (swapping mushrooms for shrimp in his bobo recipe). Jewish and Israeli flavors do occasionally headline in the book as well (the cover features Bernath with chicken schnitzel and an Israeli chopped salad). In the headnote for his chilaquiles dojos, Bernath notes the similarities in texture between Jewish matzo brei and the Mexican tortilla and egg dish.
And, if all of that is not enough to convince a potential reader, the book’s richly colored images (photographed beautifully by Mark Weinberg) are mesmerizing. Not only do they frame the food beautifully — this book is no stranger to cheese pulls — but they also match the vivaciousness and warm spirit of the book’s author. With its globetrotting set of recipes, a glossary of cooking essentials, and its animated, reassuring, and informative recipe notes, Eitan Eats the World proves Eitan Bernath is a master at coaxing flavors from food and confidence from cooks of all ages.
Hannah Kressel is a current fellow at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She holds a Masters in Art History from the University of Oxford and a Bachelors in Art History and Studio Art from Brandeis University. Her research examines the intersection of contemporary art, food, and religion. She is an avid baker and cook.