The Bear on Hulu takes place in the tight, stainless steel kitchen of The Original Beef of Chicagoland. It’s run by Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto, a young and brilliant chef also known as Bear. Carmy takes over the family restaurant following the suicide of his older brother.
Under him is a capable staff that seems allergic to change. Carmy wants to refine the workings and offerings of the restaurant, but the staff continually pushes back. Away from the restaurant, Carmy struggles to rebuild familial bonds and process the heartbreaking death of his brother.
Ultimately, the kitchen staff that frustrates him nearly to a mental breakdown ends up being his chosen family.
The Bear is not based on a true story, but there’s plenty for the audience to learn about the culinary industry
The Bear is a fictional story created by the brilliant mind of Christopher Storer. Christopher’s notable works include Eight Grade and Ramy Youssef’s comedy Ramy. The story is fictional, but viewers can learn much about the culinary industry from the series.
We rarely think about the process that goes into the food we order and expect to be delivered in time and to taste as promised by the restaurant. The series shows the pressures that kitchen staff face in confined and frantic spaces to provide food to hungry and expectant customers.
Co-showrunner Joanna Calo told Entertainment Weekly that they consulted professional chefs to create an accurate representation of the kitchen environment. Perhaps after watching the show, viewers will become more considerate to restaurant kitchen staff.
The series also demonstrates how work can serve as a distraction for people struggling mentally. Calo told the outlet:
“The stories are insane, not only about what people are willing to put themselves through but just the work ethic and the ways in which that ethic can both soothe and sort of help you evade any emotional processing, which kind of was perfect for our show.”
The kitchen was based on the real-life Chicago food outlet Mr. Beef
A crew member told Nina Metz of the Chicago Tribune that the series based the set on Mr. Beef’s kitchen. Mr. Beef is a food outlet in Chicago offering meals like the Italian beef sandwich.
The crew member said that the designers rebuilt the interior of Mr. Beef on a soundstage at a studio complex in the city.
Jeremy Allen White, playing Carmy in the series, also contributed to the show’s authenticity by undertaking culinary training. He told Entertainment Weekly that he spent two weeks in cooking school before working at several restaurants in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He explained:
“It was really amazing — I’d never studied a skill that much for any other job, and it was really great to have months of training to learn about (the) character and learn about Carmy through a skill that he’d also studied.”