Chicago electric sandwich shop drama “Bear” stirs excitement in every episode

Jeremy Allen White, Lionel Boyce and Ebon Moss Batchrush in The Bear (FX)

There is a cliched idea about what it takes to be a rock star chef. It combines Anthony Bourdain’s aesthetic – his arms tattooed, with a dirty glint in his eye – with Gordon Ramsay’s penchant for swearing at people. Restaurant kitchens are as incendiary and sinister as the virility it takes to thrive in one kitchen. To be the best, you have to bleed, bruise, sweat and scream for it. You have to live to cook.

In her most exciting first season, The bear Presentation by Christopher Storer (2018 indie film producer who came of age) Eighth place Eighth degree Eighth level And Ramy Youssef’s famous comedy archer ) about a rickety Italian beef sandwich shop that’s almost invisible among the skyscrapers of Chicago’s River North neighborhood — teetering on that stereotype. The screaming of the kitchen staff was so loud, obnoxious, and incessant, I found myself pausing just a bit to give my adrenal glands a break. But in the penultimate episode of the 20-minute FX series, “Review,” the time bomb of the lunch rush turns into real violence. Shot in one long, rambling take, the episode blew up the myth of the tormented and sinful genius and the kitchen hierarchy that underpins his ego.

The genius in question is Carmen “Carme” Berzato, a talented chef at New York City’s Noma restaurant who came home when he inherited The Beef of Chicagoland after his beloved brother Mickey committed suicide. It’s not going well for Carme, played on the brink of a relentless nervous breakdown by Jeremy Allen White (USA edition) shameless). The regulars who have worked at the store since then are forever resisting regime change, and he is caught up in a power struggle with Richie, Mickey’s best friend, Richie (Epponne Moss Bachrush, who played Daisy from girls). Plus, Mickey – always charismatic Jon Bernthal – was better in ingredients than in numbers. Carmi owes his uncle Al-Qurashi (Oliver Platt) $300,000 (£257,000) to cover his brothers’ big debts.

Every pressing moment in every episode is a battle for the survival of the sandwich joint. The miscreants are the meat wholesalers, health inspectors, and the industrial blender that never stops falling apart. Hope arrives in the form of Sydney (Ayo Edeberry, Dickinson), a culinary school graduate who would rather prepare real meals for real people than work in one line in lavish city kitchens. (In one job she held for eight months, she was never allowed to do more than lemon zest.) Sid Sid is impatient to revolutionize The Beef as Karmi does to make the place solvent.

In “Review,” the urgency is not just a fact of the narrative, but an uncomfortable truth for the viewer. The one-piece episode takes place within the cramped quarters of The Beef’s crumbling kitchen, starting from the day Sydney implements its online ordering system. It’s also the day chefs squabble over a five-star review in Chicago Telegraph. This should be good news for the struggling shop, but when the critic holds out his highest praise for one of Sydney’s fancy new entrees – risotto – Carme finds himself riled up on the side of the old guard.

Everything collapses when the kitchen staff who are used to dealing with one customer at a time, are overwhelmed by the pace of orders. most episodes The bear It’s about how the kitchen is self-destructing, but this one also entangles the viewer. How often do we think of the humans on the other side of the UberEats delivery service? Not just the humans, but all the steps—from the prep work that starts at 10 a.m. to the cleanup that ends half a day later—that go into making one sandwich.

The Beef is a messy and hectic place, but in “Review” you begin to understand how vulnerable a person can be working in a very small space. When Karmi starts screaming – often at Syd but eventually everyone else – there is nowhere to hide. boiling point, the 2021 restaurant drama starring Stephen Graham as a tense chef in London, similarly portrayed in a single take. But cinematography here is more claustrophobic than claustrophobic. Never step outside your stainless steel kitchen prison. For the chef at The Beef, the deli counter is the limit of the universe.

Ebon Moss Batrash and Ayo Edeberry in The Bear (FX)

Ebon Moss Batrash and Ayo Edeberry in The Bear (FX)

The staff are so used to alerting each other to their presence, they shout “Angle!” Every time they go around a curve and “behind!” Whenever they need to pass. But in real time, collisions look imminent. The knives are sharper. A petty argument between Sid and Ritchie about who’s preparing the giardiniera ends with Sid Ritchie accidentally stabbing, or perhaps Ricci accidentally walking Sid’s long chef’s knife. Even a first aid kid on the staff side at the counter. Drawing blood is not a reason to leave your post. The scars are part of the recipe.

This isn’t just 20 minutes in The Beef’s life but 20 minutes with everyone at their worst arrogance. Karmi yells at Sid until she shuts her apron and gets out. In a particularly cruel move, he destroyed the cakes that the rudimentary pastry chef had been working to perfect all season. Karmi is not a misunderstood genius but a bad guy. He was abused in the kitchens where he worked, and now he’s recreating that hoopla in his brother’s old sandwich shop.

Before the “review”, there was a general impression that the food industry It was To be like this: horrible, mean and exhausting. But something about a talented chef like Karmi trying to punch a tiny machine that spews quick commands exposes the entire arrangement as absurd and untenable. Just unplug it dude.

The bear It does not imitate the intensity it creates. If the loop goes on for another minute, I’ll hand my apron over, too.

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