Jeremy Allen White Dishes about the bear and the adrenaline rush of the high-stakes restaurant world | Panda Anku

(Photo by Matt Dinerstein/FX)

The Hulu series The bear is an eight-episode adrenaline rush of movement, danger, damage control and trauma.

It even begins with star Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy rescuing a roaring brown bear who’s chasing his dreams: a metaphor for both the anxiety he feels about quitting his job at a high-end New York restaurant and also for returning to Chicago to sort out his family’s problems at the Italian Sandwich Shop and for the loss of his brother, whose recent suicide is the reason he’s there in the first place.

“The general public has this idea of ​​a chef being tortured over Anthony Bourdain or Marco Pierre White,” White told Rotten Tomatoes, checking the names of two notorious celebrity chefs.



To prepare for this part, White read chefs’ biographies and cookbooks, and performed (or practiced) at prestigious restaurants such as Chicago’s Kumiko, Los Angeles’ Republique, and Santa Monica’s Pasjoli, where he met real-life chefs after the cliché surveyed that people with depression, anxiety, or addictive behaviors are attracted to this industry. He concluded that restaurants attract a certain type of employee. But also: “If you really aim to excel in this area, the time commitment is so incredible.”

“The amount of time these people spend in kitchens — and not just kitchens, there’s so much repetition — you really have to keep at it,” says White. “And I think it can drive people a little crazy. You’re 14, sometimes 16 hours a day in a white stainless steel box, doing the same thing day after day… and you perform every night. Service is an achievement.”


THE BEAR - Jeremy Allen White, Lionel Boyce, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

(Photo by FX)

When the kitchen closes, the staff will clean for several hours before perhaps letting off steam. And in a few hours it will be time to repeat the process.

in the The bear, White points out that “so much of the show takes place in the kitchen” — on a set he says wasn’t much bigger than what you see on TV — and “everything is pre-lit; we actually only use the lighting in the kitchen.”

“What was exciting was that we could move very quickly – there weren’t really long takes – and we could do these really long shots almost like the theater,” he says. “I got a taste of what it’s like to be in that box and really spend 12, 14 hours there sometimes with not much happening other than a cigarette break.”


FX'S THE BEAR Jeremy Allen White as Carmen Berzatto, Liza Colon-Zayas

(Photo by Matt Dinerstein/FX)

He also got a taste of how demeaning the job can be — not because of the clientele, but because of the fellow chefs and staff. In a flashback in the second episode, Carmy is still at his fancy restaurant job and being bullied by his egomaniacal boss. In the penultimate episode, there’s a series of f-bombs that could set a new television record when Carmy berates his own staff and they all yell at each other over burning ovens and flashing knives.

Canadian chef Matty Matheson is co-producing the show and also appears in a smaller role, while creator Christopher Storer’s sister, Courtney Storer, is also a chef. White says they’re watching The bearfilming from the sidelines yelling things like “Curse more” and “You guys aren’t mean enough to each other.”

before The bearWhite was best known for playing the second oldest child, Phillip “Lip” Gallagher, on the long-running Showtime dramedy shameless and yes, yes, he knows: Carmy is another Chicago character with a lot of family dysfunction, including a history of addiction. But he doesn’t think “Carmy’s upbringing was the same as Lip’s at all.”

He concedes that the energy in restaurants isn’t that different from the pressure the cast and crew experience while filming a series or movie.

As a performer, he also understands the pressure Carmy felt to make a name for herself.


THE BEAR Jeremy Allen White of FX

(Photo by Matt Dinerstein/FX)

“I like to think that now that I’m 31, I’m a little more versatile,” says White. “But I knew that feeling of being so wrapped up in an identity of just your job… When I was younger I could be really hard on myself, and I viewed my career more as a sprint. And the roles that I wanted, I wanted so badly, and if I didn’t get them, it really was the end of the world. Now that I’ve gotten a little bit older, I’m looking at my career through the lens of longevity a little bit more and looking at things like a little bit more like a marathon.”

While The bear was not officially renewed for a second season, White says that Storer has ideas and that “after reading all eight episodes, I felt like this was really a prologue to the show. We’re giving the audience everything it takes to have a show about good food and back-of-house right now.”

Consider the first season as an appetizer.



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The Bear: Season 1
(2022)
Premiered June 23 on Hulu.


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