The last scene of the first season of The bear – An eight-episode comedy-drama about what it’s like to be a smoky guy who also inherits a failed but beloved restaurant from your deceased older brother – The entire kitchen crew ends up opening dozens of cans of San America tomatoes. Inside the sealed cans are wads of Saran-encased cash worth more than $300,000, a fail-safe system created by Mickey—brother of Karmi’s deceased owner—to ensure the restaurant remains afloat once Karmi takes over. When they discover the cash, Karmi immediately closes the beloved original restaurant that still has flaws, which is funny to me, and renames it as something akin to his dream restaurant to eat.
But this conclusion left more scratching questions than answers – So wait, are they still paying their mafia uncle Cicero the big $300 loan that Mickey borrowed? How is tomato sauce spread along the back wall? Why does a restaurant need a 1 to 1 ratio of can openers for kitchen staff? Beef closed now? But what about the regulars? – But there was no more perplexing question than this: How did Carmi’s brother seal all that money in all those cans?
In an interview with actor Jeremy Allen White (who plays Carmi), writer Roxana Haddadi asked this very question. What I kept wondering about this scene was, ‘How did Mickey re-seal the cans? “There is a machine that does this in the restaurants,” White replied on a piece of paper on the hole of the plot: “There is a machine that does this in restaurants,” he said to Haddad. “I asked the same question.” Well, I also asked the same question, to my neighbor, who is the chef: “Are there machines in restaurants that do? Close open cans already?” I asked. His response: “Not to my knowledge.” Impressive.
I searched for an industrial can resealing machine online, which led me to House of Cans, a company that sells all things container-related. “Whether it’s cans, buckets, barrels, jugs, jars, bottles or boxes – we have a full range,” the site reads. In a subcategory of container-related products, House of Cans sells “open top can sealing machines.” I figured – in theory – if you could use this tool to seal the can, it should be able to Reseal After I paid $300,000 in it. This should have been what Mickey did – use his industrial can sealer from the House of Cans to reseal San Merican tomatoes. But when I called House of Cans, the representative on the phone said no, you can’t re-seal a metal can once it’s opened. I asked twice. The answer was no.
OK, but there might still be a way. Another chef friend suggested that if he could be Somehow It was properly opened may be It can be sealed with a new cap. “But the contents inside will be exposed to oxygen,” which makes the possibility of tomato spoilage incredibly high. (Imagine if they opened all those cans and found not just cash, but mold. Yes!) Roger Kessling, vice president of sales and customer management at Iron Heart Canning, backed the slim possibility that cans could be resealed. In an email, Kissling wrote that although the company specializes in canning drinks, “I can tell you that cans cannot be re-sealed once opened because cans are laminated by folding and compressing the metal from the lid and body of the can.” To open it, Kissling wrote, “the metal is cut so it cannot be resealed.”
Coming out of the question, that leaves two theories for how all that money got into all those cans: First, Mickey canned tomatoes himself and pasted San Merican labels on them. This means he’ll definitely have to have one of the industrial can sealing machines sold by companies like House of Cans, as well as a label printer of some sort and a very steady hand for wrapping paper. There seemed to be a lot of work for a man whose restaurant was in disarray, among other things.
Or, Mickey was laundering money through KBL, a shadow company he said he was paying for in the restaurant ledger. KBL, which was printed on the bottom of the cans, the company probably stuffed cash into pre-sealed cans, added tomatoes from anywhere, sealed the cans, and then sent them back to the restaurant sealed. Whether that company is a cannery, a tomato grower, or nothing really doesn’t matter. At least, it was apparently a family business: As one Reddit user noted, Carme’s father was wearing a KBL jacket in an old photo with their Uncle Cicero. Can KBL stand for K. Berzatto Laundering?
We’ll just have to wait until season two to find out.