Jeremy Allen White Dishes on The Bear and the Adrenaline Rush That Is the High-Stakes Restaurant World

"Curse more" was a direction from producers on set of the food industry family drama that roars onto Hulu.

by | June 22, 2022 | Comments

FX's THE BEAR Jeremy Allen White

(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 opens with star Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy un-caging a roaring brown bear that haunts his dreams: a metaphor both for the anxiety he feels about leaving his job at a high-end New York restaurant and returning to Chicago to run his family’s struggling Italian sandwich shop and for the loss of his brother, whose recent death by suicide is the reason he’s there in the first place.

“The general population has this idea of a chef as tortured because of Anthony Bourdain or Marco Pierre White,” White tells Rotten Tomatoes, name-checking two infamously intense celebrity chefs.

To prepare for this part, White read chef’s biographies and cookbooks and staged (or interned) at respected restaurants like Chicago’s Kumiko, Los Angeles’ Republique, and Santa Monica’s Pasjoli, where he asked actual chefs about the stereotype that those with depression, anxiety, or addictive behaviors are drawn to this industry. He came away with the conclusion that, yes, restaurants do attract a certain kind of employee. But also, “if you’re really aiming to be excellent in this field, the sacrifice of time is so incredible.”

“How much time these people are spending in kitchens — and not only spending in kitchens, but there’s so much repetition — you really need to to hang in there,” White says. “And, I think, it can make people go a little bit crazy. You’re in a stainless steel white box for 14, sometimes 16, hours a day, doing the same thing, day in and day out … and you’re performing every night. Service is a performance.”

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

(Photo by FX)

When the kitchen closes, the staff spends several hours cleaning before perhaps going out to blow off steam. And, in a few short hours, it’s time to repeat the process.

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

“What was exciting is that we were able to move very quickly — there weren’t really long setups — and we were able to do these really long shots almost like theater,” he says. “I got a taste of what it’s like to be in that box and really spend sometimes 12, 14 hours there without much else going on 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 other chefs and staff. In a flashback in the second episode, Carmy is still at his fancy restaurant job getting bullied by his egomaniacal boss. In the penultimate episode, there’s a succession of f-bombs that may set a new TV record as Carmy berates his own staff and they all scream at each other over flaming stoves and flashing knives.

Canadian chef Matty Matheson is a co-producer on the show and also appears in a smaller role, while creator Christopher Storer’s sister, Courtney Storer, is also a chef. White says they would watch The Bear’s filming from the sidelines and shout things like “curse more” and “you guys aren’t being mean enough to one another.”

Before The Bear, White was most famous for playing second-eldest child, Phillip “Lip” Gallagher, on the long-running Showtime dramedy Shameless and yes, yes he knows: Carmy is another character from Chicago with a ton of family dysfunction that includes a history of addiction. But he doesn’t think “Carmy’s upbringing was the same to Lip’s at all.”

He does acknowledge that the energy in restaurants isn’t that different from the pressure for a cast and crew to make their day while filming a series or movie.

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

FX's THE BEAR Jeremy Allen White

(Photo by Matt Dinerstein/FX)

“I like to think I’m a bit more well-rounded now that I’m 31,” White says. “But I was familiar with that feeling of being so wrapped up in an identity of just your profession … When I was younger, I could really be hard on myself, and I was looking at my career as a bit more of a sprint. And the roles 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 bit older, I look at my career a bit more through the lens of longevity and looking at things like a bit more of a marathon.”

While The Bear has not officially been renewed for a second season, White says that Storer does have ideas and that “when I finished reading all eight episodes, I felt like this is really a prologue to the show. We’re giving audiences everything they need to now have a show about fine dining and back-of-house.”

Consider the first season an appetizer.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

doctor who adenture Toys spain Character Guide Watching Series singing competition cats Extras YA APB Nat Geo romantic comedy scary movies hist blockbuster wonder woman facebook E3 casting Quiz summer TV preview Thanksgiving LGBTQ Certified Fresh parents TCA Awards Amazon satire teaser scene in color series kaiju Cannes rotten YouTube Red indiana jones Set visit 4/20 Apple TV+ period drama FX adventure space Academy Awards lord of the rings RT History free movies cancelled television Election quibi Trailer mockumentary 2019 CW Seed video Sony Emmy Nominations Walt Disney Pictures Tomatazos Nickelodeon anime thriller Disney+ Disney Plus comic books natural history Countdown IFC Films sequels The Walt Disney Company feel good VH1 Captain marvel screenings CNN Tumblr nbcuniversal Mystery cooking discovery transformers marvel comics Pop Tags: Comedy boxing 73rd Emmy Awards game show Marvel Interview animated superman royal family independent werewolf Trophy Talk classics ABC spy thriller Comics on TV nfl black comedy comiccon critic resources Pride Month Holiday CBS All Access Shudder batman target scene in color reviews Netflix Hallmark Christmas movies Creative Arts Emmys binge Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt unscripted black Comedy Netflix Christmas movies criterion Spring TV universal monsters south america The CW best President politics technology Disney Horror Mindy Kaling Funimation australia History Bravo Film Festival worst movies toronto Song of Ice and Fire OWN FOX MTV AMC Plus theme song 79th Golden Globes Awards WGN scene in color TIFF foreign VOD New York Comic Con Emmys IFC worst Television Critics Association die hard zombie Television Academy documentaries Action Red Carpet video on demand The Walking Dead dreamworks comedies canceled TV shows Britbox TNT posters scorecard indie Dark Horse Comics Crunchyroll richard e. Grant Pixar Universal cars movie South by Southwest Film Festival Hollywood Foreign Press Association slashers zero dark thirty comic book movies CBS dramedy action-comedy movies obi wan Comedy Central Marathons Endgame Baby Yoda Sundance TV mission: impossible The Academy Lionsgate festival TCM Trivia Infographic police drama Superheroes finale crime drama Warner Bros. 2021 Box Office Calendar Pop TV rotten movies we love The Witch HFPA Apple TV Plus films documentary National Geographic SundanceTV BAFTA legend Mary poppins deadpool Sneak Peek chucky 2016 1990s Star Trek IMDb TV Tubi PaleyFest cancelled young adult Pacific Islander psychological thriller Best Picture rt archives NYCC Awards Tour composers stand-up comedy screen actors guild book Musical political drama medical drama 2018 Starz new zealand PBS TV Land Best Actress french halloween tv golden globes spanish language The Arrangement YouTube Sundance Now Writers Guild of America OneApp Rom-Com cops olympics archives Cartoon Network cancelled TV series American Society of Cinematographers all-time sports Avengers football stop motion Podcast Disney streaming service franchise Fall TV DC Universe spanish slasher Valentine's Day AMC telelvision rom-coms aapi disaster serial killer DirecTV zombies series dogs Paramount Plus nature BBC concert ratings Instagram Live Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cults BET boxoffice Exclusive Video vs. Epix a nightmare on elm street strong female leads art house sequel Cosplay children's TV Classic Film dexter 93rd Oscars 99% ghosts harry potter book adaptation Travel Channel renewed TV shows biography Women's History Month Winners Oscar romance Holidays sag awards Wes Anderson Biopics 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Logo Family 72 Emmy Awards Amazon Prime new york TV social media gangster hollywood Mudbound obituary cinemax mcc TBS revenge toy story Hear Us Out james bond new star wars movies Vudu Crackle HBO Max Native Nominations E! Hallmark Tokyo Olympics spider-man fast and furious laika 90s blockbusters HBO Go Image Comics green book 94th Oscars comic Marvel Television BBC One Summer Opinion Martial Arts cancelled TV shows comics Stephen King Neflix anthology basketball TruTV Reality Competition godzilla ESPN saw Adult Swim broadcast what to watch mutant El Rey Focus Features Lifetime Apple venice 24 frames kids 007 Winter TV USA BET Awards Peacock Polls and Games Tarantino X-Men directors YouTube Premium japanese Reality game of thrones Mary Poppins Returns Alien Western Music kong witnail crime thriller golden globe awards streaming BBC America ABC Signature popular GoT Best Actor prank rt labs critics edition rt labs elevated horror dragons Food Network king kong leaderboard Showtime WarnerMedia Drama MCU docudrama Grammys Super Bowl Ellie Kemper USA Network hispanic heritage month suspense VICE Sci-Fi Comic-Con@Home 2021 target Brie Larson christmas movies child's play SXSW 2022 SXSW Film Ovation Discovery Channel award winner 2017 Syfy Fargo First Look science fiction Schedule Oscars Spike festivals marvel cinematic universe Superheroe justice league TV renewals television scary joker 71st Emmy Awards dark Disney Channel international trailers Country Esquire cartoon ITV king arthur NBA Comic Book Spectrum Originals critics SDCC Photos Fox Searchlight news psycho versus spider-verse Teen crime See It Skip It HBO FX on Hulu jamie lee curtis Fox News ViacomCBS streaming movies scene in color film series 2020 tv talk summer preview Shondaland Chernobyl Year in Review ABC Family 21st Century Fox Sony Pictures remakes First Reviews robots Ghostbusters italian halloween superhero breaking bad Arrowverse Amazon Studios A&E MSNBC hidden camera Black History Month A24 Paramount Pictures Black Mirror TV movies pirates of the caribbean Geeked Week canceled GLAAD talk show true crime dceu spinoff Heroines Rock Freeform Sundance Pet Sematary Masterpiece DGA Disney Plus 2015 women japan twilight live event razzies Fantasy trophy Lifetime Christmas movies diversity LGBT live action Indigenous FXX historical drama PlayStation Lucasfilm dc 20th Century Fox Marvel Studios TCA Winter 2020 Best Director DC Comics Star Wars Celebration The Purge streamig adaptation comic book movie summer TV Prime Video travel Video Games NBC Legendary Awards name the review docuseries reboot Christmas mob Anna Paquin debate San Diego Comic-Con know your critic 45 Mary Tyler Moore Universal Pictures TV One Hulu Elton John Pirates Binge Guide supernatural sitcom Rocketman vampires emmy awards DC streaming service miniseries Acorn TV GIFs crossover jurassic park Musicals Premiere Dates biopic blaxploitation heist movie sopranos MGM stoner Animation TCA Turner TLC Paramount war CMT aliens Columbia Pictures Turner Classic Movies Rocky RT21 Paramount Network based on movie Amazon Prime Video Kids & Family TCA 2017 Star Wars high school fresh latino interviews Broadway ID hispanic monster movies Best and Worst genre asian-american