Renouncing the glamor of the kitchen in favor of toxicity

These days, it’s hard not to throw the stone and hit on some sort of documentary or miniseries that highlights the mystique of creating and making delicious food. It’s not only kitchen; someone creates art. And it is exactly this mindset that glamorizes and idealizes the food industry. Of course, there are certainly pockets of the industry that are thriving without anyone being crushed under the heel of the boot of a company that can be on top of the world one day and crumble the next. Christopher Storerthe new series the bear examines the aftermath of said crash. Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) returned home to his native Chicago to take over running his family shop after the suicide of his older brother Mikey (Jon Berntal). Alongside him is a cast of characters that fill the family shop called, quite aptly, The Original Beef of Chicagoland.


His brother Richie’s best friend (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is the old guard, not settling for any of Carmy’s new changes, and trying to modernize the articulation. The newbie is Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), an ambitious and creative young chef who also trained in traditional gourmet restaurants like Carmy. The kitchen workers are Tina (Liza Colon-Zayas), an acerbic cook who dislikes Sydney but ends up taking on a motherly role in the kitchen; Mark (Lionel Boyce), an enthusiastic pastry chef who finds joy in creating the best chocolate cake or the perfect donut, even if he is rather green; Ebraheim (Edwin Lee Gibson), more the loud silent type than anything else; then a real famous canadian chef Matty Matheson slipping into the role of the friendly Fak, who acts like a jack-of-all-trades fixing things around the restaurant with duct tape and hope. For those who scour the internet and fall down rabbit holes on YouTube, Matheson is a familiar face and one that lends some credence to the show.

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Of course, it’s not just Matheson. Anyone who has even dipped a toe into the restaurant world and the booming industry around gastronomy will know the vocabulary used there. You may be familiar with the Michelin star system, but do you know the James Beard award? The show’s name drops the big restaurants; Carmy comes from a very impressive pedigree, having worked at places like Eleven Madison Park, The French Laundry and Noma, the latter of which has been named the best restaurant in the world several times. Sydney is no less impressive to have landed jobs at Chicago star Alinea and Avec.

You might say it’s easy to find the right words, but there’s also action behind it all. It is very clear that they are doing their research with this series. The movements, the rhythms and the anxiety – this not only speaks to the fact that Carmy is a chef who comes from a food background, but it also speaks to the fact that Carmy now runs a humble sandwich shop nestled between a few buildings. in Chicago. Carmy’s performance by White is spot on; he is demanding, manic and a little desperate. He went from a proverbial Ferrari to riding a bike with a bad tire. Besides cooking, he has to start restructuring the whole restaurant to actually make it profitable, which is damn impossible when they’re swimming in inherited debt.

The series succeeds all the kitchen. It aptly highlights the incredibly intense and unforgiving atmosphere of some of the best cuisines in the world. It’s militant, abusive and jealous – you can reach the top and someone can always knock you off your pedestal and no one will even look behind you at the wreckage. For Carmy, this world may have been there to prove himself, but the reason he gets into cooking is because of Mikey. Bernthal, who unfortunately doesn’t feature enough in this series, is a bright spark to ground Carmy when he appears, giving us insight into him and Richie.

Moss-Bachrach, who is a frequent Bernthal collaborator, is no chef, and it stands to reason the guy probably can’t cook anything too well. But he’s an advocate of the old way of doing things, and he too is devastated by the loss of Mikey. He was clearly close to the brothers, as they call each other “cousins” despite having no blood relationship. But it’s not about blood, Richie was Mikey’s best friend and that meant something. While White fits perfectly into the chef’s shoes, it’s Moss-Bachrach who forms the heart of the series. His conversations with Carmy give us the best insight into their past and the relationships between the three men.

Edebiri and Boyce are also a dynamic duo in the kitchen, although unfortunately underused in this first season. Edebiri’s Sydney is brave, determined and fair most of the time. Having suffered a blow to her ego before arriving at Le Bœuf, she is very eager to prove herself. As Carmy’s sous chef, she runs the kitchen even when the staff doesn’t give her the time of day. On the other side of the coin is Marcus de Boyce, who is a familiar face at The Beef, but a pastry chef who is still learning. He doesn’t know how to make gourmet donuts, but he’s willing to put in hours of work to learn. The show does a good job of allowing us to follow their story, get invested, and then be heartbroken when things go wrong for them, all the while hoping that they’ll find success again.

Beneath the sizzle of a plancha, the clang of plates and the preparation of the mise en place lies a story about overcoming the grief of losing a loved one and the trauma of an abusive environment, and that is evident at Carmy, Sydney, and Richie. Their restaurant is an underdog story, but sometimes the biggest obstacle they have to overcome is themselves. As the season unfolds, we find out why these characters are so damaged (with a surprise appearance from a very sinister Joel McHale), and find out that the show isn’t really about the food. There are no nice slow motion food shots to make your mouth water, so you forget about all the cooking hassle. The food we see is on the beautiful, albeit somewhat sterile, white plates used in fine dining. We see colourful, artistic, otherworldly dishes, but behind them we know there is someone who is degraded, taken to extremes, to seek not just perfection, but a perfection that doesn’t exist. has no definition.

the bear uses success as a weapon. You’ll cut yourself trying to reach it, or you could hurt someone else once you get it. It perfectly sums up the company in a way that anyone who has spent time in a kitchen or rubbed shoulders with chefs (like yours) will find oddly familiar. It’s hard to categorize the bear like a comedy, because a lot of humor revolves around a pretty desperate situation, but sometimes finding the maddening absurdity or ridiculousness of a situation is the only way to laugh on a day you’ve been standing in front of a fire and covered in burns, cuts and bruises that go deeper than the skin.

Evaluation: B+

Season 1 of the bear is currently available to stream on Hulu.