How Eitan Bernath Snagged An Invite To Meet The President - Exclusive

Eitan Bernath found out he was going to meet President Biden on the same day he found out he'd made Forbes' 30 under 30 list. "It was an absolutely absurd day. I did not process the day until a month later," Bernath spilled to Tasting Table in an exclusive interview. "I had 20 seconds to process that, and then I was rushed to the airport to go to D.C."

Actually, he'd been to D.C. just the day before while getting a sneak peek at the White House's holiday decorations, which is how this all started. It was December 2021, and Eitan Bernath had racked up enough notoriety to catch Jill Biden's attention. What gets you on the First Lady's radar? Being a "principal culinary contributor" for "The Drew Barrymore Show," having an annual social media viewership of 350 million people across 150 countries, teaching One Direction's Liam Payne how to cook a date-night dinner, or being on the verge of publishing your first cookbook at the age of 20. You get the idea.

"[Every year,] the first lady does holiday decorations. The White House team invited me and a handful of other creators to ... get a first look," Bernath explained to Tasting Table. That, in turn, is how Bernath ended up small-talking with President Biden a day later.

How a joke at an event led to meeting the president

Don't underestimate Eitan Bernath because of his fun social media videos — he runs a food media empire. "People always think that when you work in entertainment, you don't need to use your brain," Bernath reflected to Tasting Table. "I run a company ... I pay salaries every month." You don't get to be a 20-year-old superstar without being dynamically proactive, which is also how Bernath wound up shaking hands with Biden last December, a day after touring the White House's holiday decorations.  

"I was talking to someone [while] wearing my Jewish star necklace," Bernath told Tasting Table. "It came up that I was Jewish, and I made a joke, [saying,] 'If you guys ever throw a Hanukkah event, I'd love to come.' He looked at me and he's like, 'We're doing one tomorrow. Do you want to come?" I laughed, and he is like, 'No, I'm serious. I'll talk to Jill. I'm sure she would love to have you there.'" 

It took a while (and, Bernath thinks, a Secret Service investigation) to get the final invite, but it came through. "I was actually the only non-politician or rabbi that was at the Hanukkah event," Bernath recounted. "It was very small [and] intimate ...  It was magnificent ... walking in, wearing a Jewish star, and hearing Jewish music being played by the White House's orchestra." 

Eitan Bernath cried when he met President Biden

Meeting the president was doubly meaningful for Eitan Bernath — first, because of the holiday itself. "At the end of [a] year where there was so much anti-Semitism in the country ... to be in the White House, loud and proud Jewish, celebrating this holiday that I've celebrated my whole life with the president and vice president and first lady and second gentleman, it was very emotional," Bernath recounted. "I was kind of crying in my seat, but behind my mask."

But when it came time to talk to President Biden, Bernath thanked him for something else. "I spoke to [President Biden and Vice President Harris] briefly," Bernath revealed. "My grandfather passed away from COVID in March 2020, and meeting them was very impactful for me. I said to both of them, 'Thank you for believing the science and caring about people affected by COVID.' For a while, it felt like people of power did not."

Keep up with Eitan's latest projects at Eitan's first cookbook, "Eitan Eats the World" is available now everywhere books are sold and on