Eitan Bernath's Best Tips For Cooking With A Pressure Cooker - Exclusive Interview

If you live under a rock somewhere and haven't downloaded TikTok, maybe you first saw TikTok superstar Eitan Bernath as a 15-year-old chef, when he landed a spot on "Guy's Grocery Games." ("It felt like I was like completely dreaming," Bernath told Mashed, but more on that later.) Now, at 19, the "The Drew Barrymore Show" culinary contributor sometimes works — as he admitted to Insider  – 12-hour shifts with his team to put out "10 to 20 videos a day" and keep his social media empire happy and fed. At the time of this writing, that's 141,000 YouTube followers, 637,000 Instagram followers, and a whopping 1.9 million TikTok followers. Don't blink! His numbers are growing fast. 

It's not hard to understand why. Who doesn't want to master berry mascarpone-stuffed french toast for leisurely Sunday brunches (via Instagram)? Why make regular hot dogs? You can make the Eitan Bernath's panache-endowing version of Chilean hot dogs, flamboyantly topped with avocado and sauerkraut (via Instagram). Bernath isn't just giving us food — he's giving us a lifestyle filled with verve, sparkle, and decadence. 

In the past, Bernath tells Mashed, companies have decided against working with him because of his age. Not Ninja, which recently partnered with the social media sensation to promote its new all-in-one cooking device: the Ninja® Foodi® XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid. In this exclusive interview, Bernath reveals his best pressure cooker cooking tips, talks television dreams, and gives us an enticing peek into his pantry. 

Eitan Bernath proves age is just a number

You have been a rising star in the food world now for such a long time, and you're so young! Have you ever encountered any obstacles because of your age?

For sure. I mean throughout my career, I've definitely had times when people weren't taking me seriously, or companies that I was excited to work with all of a sudden were like, "Well, we don't want to work with the kid." But I think at the end of the day, I've really focused on working with people that understand that age is just a number ... whether you're young or old, that [age] doesn't limit what you can do in that, especially in the cooking arena. There's so much out there and available to help you cook. And, I think if you're younger using products like Ninja's with the SmartLid, or using just good cooking equipment — there's no reason that anyone of any age can't get in the kitchen, and have fun and cook the food they enjoy eating.

You've just moved to New York. What's your take on New York pizza? Any New York hot spots and food spots that we should know about that you think are underrated?

So, I recently actually moved again, but when I used to live in SoHo. [There's] this place called Upside Pizza. It's pretty new and I think it's the best slice of pizza I've ever had.

Upside in SoHo. Why?

They have a vodka slice ... and, it's like the perfect level of spicy, savory. It's heavenly, like 24 hours a day, if someone gave me one of their slices, I would be into it.

What's one underrated New York food that nobody talks about because everybody's too busy talking about pizza?

I just think the access to food — I think it's kind of underrated. My favorite thing since moving to the city, is like 24/7 you can get almost anything. I think that, especially with all delivery apps and everything ... You have access to everything always, which is really exciting.

Eitan Bernath talks his television dreams & friendship with Drew Barrymore

We've been watching you on the "Drew Barrymore Show" for months now. She slid into your DMs. What were those first conversations like for you?

Yeah, so Drew is definitely not someone I anticipated having a friendship with. But she is seriously the most supportive, and also food-loving friend that I have. I think that she comments on so many of my posts and it's always exciting, knowing that she likes the food. I think being able to cook with her on camera, and then also kind of have a friendship off-camera has been really incredible, and she's incredibly supportive.

And for me cooking on television [has] always been a big dream of mine. So, when Drew and her team first reached out [to] do my first appearance, I was stoked. Then, when they reached out again to have the reoccurring role, which [I'm] maybe the first TikToker to ever land ... [a] reoccurring daytime television role, that was just really wildly exciting. And to be able to have that relationship with Drew and be able to cook with her on camera. I think overall, it's just been really incredible to get to know Drew and she really shares that same excitement about food that I've always had.

You grew up watching Guy Fieri and in 2017 You finally got on "Guy's Grocery Games," what was that moment for you? 

Yeah, I mean, that was extremely exciting. I had met Guy a few times. And then, one of the times I met him, I spoke to him. It was at a book signing ... I quickly told him about ... my food blog that I had. I gave him my business card, thinking that he'd probably throw it out four seconds later. Then, before I even got home, on the car ride back from the book signing, I had an email in my inbox from his assistant. [It] asked me personally from Guy to be on his show. It was just — it felt like I was like completely dreaming. And being able to be on a show, and cook for him and with him there, it was extremely, extremely overwhelming, and exciting and [it] really kind of felt like a dream come true.

What was one thing that cameras didn't show us that you can share?

There were a few moments, where Guy got in the kitchen and was kind of like cooking with me and teaching me some things. That didn't get on camera. But that was like a really cool moment, because he also kind of comes in the kitchen a lot. So, that was really fun.

What did he teach you?

I think I was pretty young. I think he was reviewing the temperature to cook the chicken, or something. Because I was maturing at that point, and having not cooked in a restaurant, I didn't know [the correct temperatures] enough by heart. So, he was kind of reviewing them with me. I think, I'm pretty sure. To be totally honest, it was many years ago, so I don't recall exactly, but I think that was it.

What Eitan Bernath wishes he asked Gordon Ramsay

While on "The Drew Barrymore Show," you interviewed Gordon Ramsay. What's one question you didn't get to ask but wish you did?

Good question. Yeah. So, that definitely was a quick interview, as you saw. I think I would love to also ask him his biggest kitchen fail in the past year. I feel like Gordon is someone we always see — like kind of in a fun way — yelling at people about their kitchen fails. So, I'd definitely be super curious what his would be.

Gordon mentioned wanting to master the soufflé in your interview and you've been making soufflés for your mother for a while, could you give him some pro tips?

I mean, I would be very uncomfortable walking up to Gordon Ramsay, be like, "Hey, let me give you cooking tips." But, I think for anyone out there making soufflés — I definitely do not consider myself a master. I mean, I've had many years where they failed. But one of the things I say about soufflé is, of course, to get that super impressive look, it's very challenging. But at the end of the day, it'll be delicious even if it's cracked or doesn't look perfect. I think my main tip would be, obviously, when you're making a soufflé, you put a lot of effort into it. You want it to look great. But at the end of the day, it'll taste good regardless.

There's this technique where you rub your thumb around the ramekin to make sure that [soufflé] has room to go up. But at the end of the day, like most food, it'll taste good, regardless. And hopefully your mom, if you're making it for Mother's Day, [she's] not Gordon Ramsay and won't yell at you. So, I think that'd be my number one tip.

Why Eitan Bernath partnered with Ninja

Talk to me about your partnership with the Ninja® Foodi® XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid. Why do we need it? What's your favorite food to make in it?

Awesome. Yeah, I think for me, the main thing that I'm really excited about this product is that you're able to do three functions under one lid. Traditionally, if you want to be cooking with these new appliances that have been popping up the past bunch of years, you have to have multiple appliances. So if you want to pressure cook, you need a pressure cooker. If you want an air fryer, you have an air fryer. And they're quite large appliances just based on the amount of room you need for your food — the fans — everything. So for a lot of people, it could be cumbersome to have multiple appliances. And what Ninja's really brought to the table with this is you're able to have lots of functions within one lid. There's some products that will air fry and pressure cook, where you need different lids. And I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in keeping track of multiple lids.

What's also really exciting — the recipe that I made with Ninja is the SteamCrisp technology, which is something that hasn't ever been in a product before. [It] enables you to do a type of cooking method that has — at least, as far as I'm aware — never been available in a home kitchen, which is the idea that you're able to [do] basic convection bake or air fry with steam at the same time.

What that does is when you're making a recipe like the focaccia I did, is it results in an interior that's super soft and pillowy, and the outside gets nice and crispy. So with the focaccia, it's super, super easy. [The Ninja pressure cooker steam fryer] also cooks breads up to 25% faster. You literally just pour your water in the bottom, you add the focaccia in the basket, poke the fun holes, add olive oil on top. I just did a plain nice rosemary classic, but you could do garlic, you could do tomatoes, literally whatever flavors you're craving.

And then, the SteamCrisp steams the food and air fries at the same time, so the outside gets like really nice and crispy.

Eitan Bernath gives us dinner and dessert inspiration

You have talked about wanting to cook for Cardi B. You've got your pressure cooker. What are you cooking her for dinner?

So believe it or not, this is actually a question I get often, so I am very prepared for this one. And, this is very true. I do love the Cardi B. Cardi loves like Caribbean food and food from the island. She loves seafood, so I would definitely make Cardi — I would make her fish tacos. I would want to do Bodak Yellow theme fish tacos. I would use black beans for a black bean tortilla. And then, using the Ninja SmartLid, I would like fry fish with like a turmeric batter, so it's like black and yellow, like Bodak yellow.

And using SteamCrisp, I'd be able to kind of get like really nice succulent fish on the inside and crispy outside. And then I'd probably use a fun salsa. But yeah, one day when I cook for Cardi B, I can envision in my head exactly how this plays out. I think the key is that Bodak Yellow theme and utilizing the SteamCrisp to make sure that I have super juice. Because I know she loves fish. Anybody who knows her — watch[es] her Instagram Stories — knows that Cardi loves fish. So, I think making sure I have that juicy fish on the inside and the crispy kind of like tempura-type batter on the outside will be super important.

S'mores are your weak spot. You've talked about your love for s'mores a couple of times. What's the secret to good s'mores?

I think the secret is making sure you toast your marshmallow enough. A lot of times people will put it on too high heat and then the outside of crisp, but the inside still kind of not warmed yet. And then, it doesn't come off the skewer.

Do you have any kind of secret ingredient for a s'more that we can add to it?

I think Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are good. And something also I wanted to say is there's many ways to make s'mores. You don't have to have an open fire, you can even air fry s'mores. I have done it before, [it's] very fun. You can use Ninja's SmartLid to also air fry a s'more. And that, honestly gets it also delicious because you're able to have like the outside crispy, the inside hot. So, I made a s'more with the toaster before — any heating element really can make s'mores.

We've been looking at your kitchen through your YouTube videos. It's very fully stocked! What's one thing that would completely surprise us that's in your pantry?

That's a good question. I think MSG. I think MSG has a bad rep, but at the end of the day, it's just salt with another atom connected to it. I mean, it's just an ingredient that makes food tastes better [but it] has a bad rep. I think that that's definitely one. I think it's very versatile, if you're trying to kind of give [food] a little extra flavor.

How newbies can start using a pressure cooker, according to Eitan Bernath

Is there something people who haven't used a pressure cooker before should never do? Is there something they should always do?

Good question. I think that my number one tip would be to make — especially if you've never used a device like this before — is [to] start off with a dish that you know. It's kind of my tip. Anytime we're starting something new in cooking, you start off with the dish you know you'll like. So using an appliance like Ninja's Foodi® XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid — start with the food you know you're going to like.

For example, I did focaccia. I know I love focaccia and I think that [the appliance] could kind of intimidate people sometimes. But at the end of the day — if you're starting with the food, you know what you like, and you make sure you read the instructions [when] you're using the appliance. You'll be comfortable with it, if it's a food you already know. Ninja has a whole list, a smart list of great recipes that work really great with their appliance and focaccia's on it. I think that starting off with some recipes like that, it's a really great way. Because I love focaccia and making in [it] Ninja's device [it] was cooked much faster. 

Anything that we should never do with a pressure cooker?

I don't know. I mean, I think that as long as you're following the right recipe and everything, I think that's good. Don't be scared. I think that, especially with like a smart device, pressure cookers sometimes have a stigma around them, it scares people. But with all the technology built-in, there's no reason to be scared while using it.

Keep an eye out for Eitan Bernath's regular appearances on "The Drew Barrymore Show," and check out all the awesome food he'll be cooking up with his Ninja on Instagram.