Sun Devil dad cooks up 800,000 followers, 9 million likes on TikTok

Darryl Postelnick and his family are using cooking videos on his TikTok account @cookingwithdarryl to come together and have fun

In October, 13-year-old Lindsey Postelnick began creating TikTok videos of her father, Darryl, cooking at their family home in Algonquin, Illinois, as a fun project while her two siblings were away at ASU for college.

Shortly after they posted their second TikTok — a how-to for beanless chili — Lindsey Postelnick noticed a surprising amount of likes and views on the video.

“Within 20 minutes, I left the house to go to Trader Joe’s to get something and Lindsey texted me saying, ‘Oh my god, we have 1,500 views,' and then 30 minutes later it was at 25,000, and later that night, it was at 400,000,” Darryl Postelnick said. “I think it ended at 4.5 million.”

Darryl’s other two children, twins Lexi and David Postelnick who are freshmen at ASU studying finance and business respectively, were stunned when they found out about their dad’s recent internet fame. 

“For me, I was kind of shocked because I found out through a friend that my dad went viral,” David Postelnick said.  

Just six weeks since its creation, the @cookingwithdarryl TikTok page has accumulated over 800,000 followers and over 9 million likes. 

"I looked at it and every second I refreshed it, it was just more and more," Lexi Postelnick said, referring to her dad's first viral video. "My roommate just sent it to me the other day and she was like, 'Is this your dad?' and I was like 'Yep.' He's popping up on all of their pages, and I'm just like, 'How is this happening?'"

Darryl Postelnick's most popular video, in which he shows how he makes chicken fried rice, has accumulated over 19.5 million views and 3.3 million likes. In many of his TikToks, he is seen sporting ASU apparel, which he says is a fun way to support his kids and a university he’s always loved.

“My wife (Karen) and I bought a house in Scottsdale 19 years ago when the twins were born, and we’ve been going there for years," Darryl Postelnick said. "They loved the campus, and when they were little, we would go there and my son and I would go to baseball games and football games, and so we just always loved it.”

The youngest of the Postelnick family, Lindsey, said she has already decided she will be attending ASU, just like her older siblings. 

“I love it there too, and I feel like if they went, then I would follow them,” Lindsey Postelnick said.

Darryl Postelnick graduated from Northern Illinois University and currently works as the senior vice president at Opia Limited, a sales promotion consultancy, and previously held the position of vice president of U.S. retail sales for Microsoft. 

Although he does not have any professional experience in the culinary world, Darryl Postelnick said he credits his success on TikTok to his experience in sales.

“I’m always dealing with people and dealing with issues, so I have no issues speaking publicly or in front of big groups,” Darryl Postelnick said. “I’m just not afraid to get in front of the camera or afraid to say something or do something, and I don’t care if I look stupid.”

Karen Postelnick agreed that his personality is the driving force behind his TikTok success.

“I think it’s kind of funny because he has a great personality and we’re total opposites: he’s Mr. Outgoing and I’m more in the background — I’m like set-up and cleanup,” Karen Postelnick said. “It totally fits his personality, and I think that’s why everybody loves him.”

The Postelnick family explained they have always enjoyed cooking and that food brings them closer together. They said the videos are a fun addition to their daily dinner routine.

As for the future of @cookingwithdarryl, the creation of a YouTube channel with longer and more descriptive recipes may be a possibility. But for now, Darryl Postelnick said they are just enjoying the fun and excitement of TikTok.

“Now, Lindsey is helping me in the kitchen and David cooks and now Lexi cooks, so it’s kind of just a fun thing,” Darryl Postelnick said. “To me, there’s a lot of stress in life on other things and cooking really is none. It’s a great hobby to have.”

Reach the reporter at and follow @kaceywilson_ on Twitter. 

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