It’s been over a year and some months since ‘Shameless’ aired its final episode. And while I haven’t been keeping up with the work of actors from that show, it was a pleasant surprise to see Jeremy Allen White, who played Lip (Philip) Gallagher on ‘Shameless’ leading his own show, in FX’s newest offering, ‘The Bear,’ now streaming on Hulu.

Much like Jon Favreau’s tasty 2014 comedy-drama, ‘Chef,’‘ The Bear’ is a wonderful ride of emotions that throws you into the beautiful, yet often-times, frustrating and demanding lifestyle of working in the food business. Specifically, the restaurant business.

After his brother Micheal commits suicide, Carmen (or Carmy) Berzatto, played by Jeremy Allen White, a young and talented culinary artist making his name in the food world as a rising star, returns to his home city of Chicago to inherit his brother’s struggling Italian-sandwich restaurant, ‘The Original Beef of Chicagoland.’

Running this kind of kitchen is no easy feat, as Carmy soon comes to learn. Not only does he have to learn to manage the administrative side of the business, and pay off the debts left behind by his brother, his biggest task is learning how to manage his group of well-meaning, bighearted, but not formally trained, kitchen staff; who’ve “always done it this way,” on how to conduct themselves in a professional manner in the kitchen; after noticing the lack of urgency, discipline, and sometimes questionable safety and hygiene habits that lands ‘The Beef of Chicago’ a “C” rating from the health department.

The “C” rating doesn’t bode well with Carmy’s sister and co-owner of the restaurant, Natalie ‘Sugar’ Berzatto, who tries to convince her brother to sell the restaurant to their Uncle, after lamenting to her brother that the restaurant is siphoning her money and taking Carmy away from her like it did their deceased brother. But Carmen doesn’t budge, and turns to the newest addition to his staff, Sydney Adamu, (played by the talented Ayo Edibiri) for help in implementing a brigade de cuisine; a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, by delegating responsibilities to different individuals who specialize in certain tasks in the kitchen or in a dining room.

The mention of a brigade de cuisine is immediately met with a great deal of apprehension from Sydney, who tells Carmen that she doesn’t like it, in spite of being someone who enjoys order and better workflow. But that doesn’t stop Carmen from pushing, even after she tells him “It will create a toxic hierarchical shit show,” to which Carmen replies, “What is it now?” and Sydney responds saying, “A shit show!” but Carmen insists, believing it to be the only way for the restaurant to work and grow into something better.

When Carmen and Sydney present the idea of the brigade to the rest of the team, the most belligerent member, Richie, (Carmen’s cousin and restaurant Manager) cuts in with a joke, “Oh-Scoffi-Gay?” when Carmen tries to explain to his less sophisticated cooks how Georges Auguste Escoffier, a famed french restaurateur, and chef who radically simplified food service, invented the brigade de cuisine, his staff look at him with despondent eyes, convinced that Carmen is in over his head, and is doomed to make an already sinking ship, sink faster.

It’s undeniable that Christopher Storer has created something special with this 8-episode first season of this exhilarating show that captures the ins and outs of what a busy restaurant kitchen looks like. Jeremy Allen White is nothing short of brilliant on this show, and Ayo Edebiri really shines next to him in what I’d describe as a career-defining role.

Suffice to say, I already have an appetite for a season two. But until then, I think everyone should sink their teeth into this tasty show that’s full of heart and excessive yelling.



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Samm Tembo

Samm Tembo

Samm Tembo is a Freelance content creator, aspiring filmmaker, entertainment and lifestyle writer, from Lusaka, Zambia; sharing his worldview through words.