(New York Jewish Week) — New York-based celebrity chef Eitan Bernath has partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme to bring awareness to global food insecurity.
The 20-year-old influencer joins other activists and celebrities such as The Weeknd, Kate Hudson and Michael Kors in his new role as a “high level supporter.” The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization and works in 120 countries to feed over 160 million people, according to its website.
Bernath said he hopes to use his platform of over 10 million followers across social media and television to encourage fundraising and highlight the work of the World Food Programme to make nutritious food accessible around the world.
“I think all of us can very easily take for granted food security and that having nutrients in your body gives you so much more potential for everything else in your life,” Bernath told the New York Jewish Week.
“It could be very easy to not think about how insanely privileged I am to have a full fridge and pantry of food,” he added. “Especially considering my career, it’s important for me to support work like this.”
That career began when Bernath was 11, when he competed on Food Network’s “Chopped.” In 2018, he was named to the New York Jewish Week’s list of “36 under 36” (now called “36 to Watch”). Bernath was raised in Teaneck, New Jersey and attended Yavneh Academy and The Frisch School.
Along with his extensive social media presence, Bernath hosts a guest segment on “The Drew Barrymore Show,” and last year released a cookbook of original recipes.
In addition to highlighting food insecurity and raising money for the World Food Programme and local organizations like City Harvest, Bernath often uses his platform to spread awareness about antisemitism and share proud Jewish moments from his life. For many of his international followers, he said, he may be their only representation of Judaism.
“I very much see my Jewish identity and Jewish upbringing as being one of the things that inspires me to give back and to support organizations like this. Fundamental to being Jewish are concepts like or l’goyim and tzedakah,” he said, using the Hebrew terms meaning “light unto the nations” and “justice.” “It has always been instilled in me through my parents the concept of ma’aser — the concept of giving back the money that you earn.”
Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA, said Bernath’s youth is an asset in bringing attention to the program.
“Eitan is the perfect person to help us fight for a more equitable future, where no one goes without food, no matter where they live,” he said in a news release.