On Monday night, a culinary twist came to Goya Studios in Hollywood, California, as its outdoor carpet transformed into a bustling, full-service working restaurant. The theme of cuisine was tied to the evening’s main event, the premiere of FX’s new drama series, The Bear.
Along with the excitement of a cast who hadn’t been together since filming wrapped was grills smoking with sizzling beef and trays of fresh baked bread at the pop-up version of the show’s titular sandwich shop, The Original Beef of Chicagoland.
At the entrance of the restaurant was a set of sixteen rules. No bathroom, no credit/debit, no reaching over the counter, no stupid questions, and number sixteen, ‘make no f**king comments about this sign.’ It’s simple… enjoy the food.
The Bear stars Shameless‘s Jeremy Allen White as Carmen “Carmy “Berzatto, a young chef from the fine-dining world who returns home to Chicago to run his family’s sandwich shop after a heartbreaking death in the family. As Carmy fights to transform the restaurant, he works alongside a rough-around-the-edges kitchen crew who ultimately reveal themselves as his chosen family.
Created by Ramy producer Christopher Shorer, The Bear generates a frenetic, behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it takes to run a small business while exploring tested relationships in the kitchen.
Liza Colón-Zayas plays a long-time employee and family friend named Tina, recounted the high pressure atmosphere on the tightly designed set. “It looks like it’s pressure-filled and chaotic as hell, but we were having so much fun,” shares Colón-Zayas. “There is so much laughter, joy, and respect that the chaos was never carried outside the scene.”
The black carpet featured restaurant staples such as kitchen racks filled with cans of tomatoes, bags of onions, and giant sacks of potatoes. On the opposite side of the carpet, caterers continued cooking for a post-screening feast.
Ayo Edebiri, who stars as Sydney Adamu, a hard-working and talented chef who takes a job working with Carmy at the restaurant, reflected on the training that the cast received to prepare for working in the often claustrophobic environment of the restaurant.
“We did different versions of training, either in kitchens or with working chefs, to get practice in,” recalled Edebiri. “I related a lot to that vibe, especially when it came to Sydney: having things written down, planning done, and just wanting to be your best.”
Hot off Hulu’s The Dropout, actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach found the task of working in the kitchen and playing the abrasive yet charming Richie to be a welcomed diversion from his other roles.
“Richie is at full volume all the time. He’s fully expressed and very passionate, but his world is also crumbling a little bit. It’s fun to explore that as an actor. You get tired of subtlety and nuance at a certain point, and it’s nice to crank the volume way up and let it rip,” shared Moss-Bachrach.
At the show’s center is the undeniable gravity of loss, which White’s Carmy and his sister Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto, played by Abby Elliott, are still reconciling. Grief sits heavily in the show’s atmosphere, and Elliott pointed to the individual nature of healing, particularly within the sibling relationship, as being pertinent to the show.
“Many people have dealt with this grief at some point in their lives, whether it’s a close friend or family member. We really wanted to focus on the push and pull of needing something from a family member who can’t necessarily give it back. It’s a huge part of the show, and they can only really do it on their own terms,” explained Elliott.
Series producer Joanna Calo who also directs three episodes noted how naturally the role came to Jeremy Allen White. “Jeremy was always at the top of the list. We did a casting process and saw some amazing people, but at the end of the day, he was just too good,” Calo shared. “There was this sweetness inside him, and the kindness that we knew would really make Carmy such a lovable character, and Jeremy just threw himself into the preparation.”
Jeremy Allen White arrived on the black carpet to a bouncing excitement from his co-stars. The cast was shepherded onto the carpet for a group photo, and White walked down the line embracing each with pride and excitement.
Of being the lead on this ensemble show, Allen expressed his appreciation for his former Shameless co-star William H. Macy. “I feel so lucky to have been on Shameless because William H. Macy was such a lovely leader. The Bear is an ensemble show, and I’m fortunate to have learned from him how to treat the cast.”
As his first show since Shameless ended after an incredible 11 seasons, White expressed his excitement for audiences to see the drama unfolding at the back-of-house in The Original Beef in Chicagoland restaurant.
“The culinary world is something I didn’t know much about before the show, and I find it so fascinating. Christopher Storer and I had a goal to make a show about the back of the house, so I hope the people who work there, the line cooks, chefs, and bussers, can connect with it in some way.”