In the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, The Bear settles into a niche business that unravels layers of stress, trauma, and abuse for its viewers. Some prefer the gritty tension of the show, some are present for the drama, some walk away, unable to watch anymore, and others stay for the story.
However, for chefs of the Bay Area, the show encapsulates something else entirely. The Bear is a recollection of their past, a kaleidoscopic reflection of their memories, and they do not stop watching out of fear of getting triggered but watch the show because it is accurate and above all, honest.
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The Reality Behind the Fine Dining Culture in The Bear
The sun-drenched and hilly locale of the San Francisco Bay Area is known for its cable cars, vibrant culture, vineyards of Napa Valley, and the Golden Gate Bridge. One other aspect stands out among its diorama — the culinary hotspots. The restaurants, cafes, and all the fine dining experiences spread throughout the city call back to the locals and the passers-by.
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But under the facade of functional sandwich shops or barbecue joints or brunch holes, lie a darker reality unwitnessed by those enjoying only the culinary delights offered up by the faceless chefs. That reality is brought to the forefront by the FX/Hulu series The Bear spearheaded by the protagonist, Carmy [Jeremy Allen White] who returns to manage his family-owned restaurant in the wake of his brother’s suicide.
The Bear Brings Back Stark Memories For Bay Area Chefs
For San Francisco chef Adam Rosenblum, the owner of three restaurants, with each episode that he has seen, “there’s been a little piece that has hit home.” For Kim Alter of the Nightbird, the more relatable aspects for her were the toilet breaking or the power going out and having no other option but to open up the restaurant.
The Bear encapsulates all of the real-world anxiety while being portrayed in a fictional setting and the reality is so accurate in its depiction that it feels refreshing for some of the chefs. Alter adds, “It felt a little exaggerated in some parts, based on how I am in my kitchen and how I’ve been in other kitchens, but for the most part, it’s pretty dead on.”
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For Jarad Gallagher, the executive chef of Broma and owner of Smoke Point, “[the show] has also really exposed some of the negative. So when the chef was standing next to [Carmy] in the French Laundry, where he was just telling him basically that he’s worthless — that happens. It’s happened to me in Europe. It’s happened to me in New York, Chicago, and here. It was a little overdone. But it happens.”
The Bear has been renewed on FX/Hulu for a second season.