“The Bear” is an American comedy-drama series about a world-famous chef who returns to Chicago to take over his family’s sandwich shop after the death of his brother. Created by Christopher Storer, the show stars Jeremy Allen White as “Carmy” Carmen Berzatto, who tries to transform The Beef’s disorganized kitchen staff into Michelin-level chefs while dealing with grief and the restaurant’s building debt. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays the grumpy but lovable “Cousin” Richie, and Ayo Edebiri plays Sydney, Carmy’s ambitious sous chef. The cast also includes Lionel Boyce, Liza Colón-Zayas, Abby Elliot, Matty Matheson and Edwin Lee Gibson.
The Hulu comedy-drama series became one of the best series of 2022 and was acclaimed for its acting, direction, humor and unique storytelling. White, who played Carmy, won many awards, including a Golden Globe, for her role in the series.
The Bear begins with Carmy returning to Chicago following the suicide of his brother Michael. Michael owned their family’s restaurant, The Original Beef of Chicagoland, so Carmy took over his brother’s business and took on many of the challenges that came with it. The Bear dives deep into the intricacies of restaurant management and is quite detail-oriented in its portrayal of the business, making one wonder if the Hulu series is based on a true story.
The Bear isn’t technically based on a true story
Although the drama and high stakes of The Bear seem realistic, the television show is not based on a true story. The characters of Carmy, Sydney, Richie, Marcus, Tina and Sugar are completely fictional and created solely for the series. But creator and co-showrunner Christopher Storer took inspiration from the restaurant industry when creating the show. Storer, along with other producers and writers, consulted with numerous professional chefs to make sure their stories were a good fit for the restaurant business. So, although The Bear isn’t directly based on real-life chefs or a restaurant, there are some real elements hidden in the series.
Inspired by a real Chicago restaurant
In creating The Bear, Storer took inspiration from real-life chefs’ stories as well as an actual Italian steak sandwich shop in Chicago. The Beef is not an actual restaurant, but is modeled after a famous Chicago establishment, Mr. Beef in the city’s River North neighborhood. Storer was a longtime customer of the store and was even friends with the founder’s son, so he modeled the fictional restaurant in the Hulu series after the real-life restaurant. The cast and crew even filmed exterior scenes of The Beef in front of Mr. Beef in Chicago.
As fans remember, Carmy closed down The Beef during The Bear season 1 finale, and he and the other characters opened a new restaurant in season 2. So, as Carmy sets his sights on food, the show will no longer use Mr. Beef as a source of inspiration; Except for Italian meat sandwiches. But Mr. Beef and The Beef will forever serve as the backbone of The Bear on Hulu.
Set in Chicago, “The Bear” is known for its authentic portrayal of the restaurant industry and ’90s alternative rock soundtrack featuring bands like Wilco, Counting Crows and Pearl Jam.
“The Bear” returns for Season 2 in June 2023 with a slew of guest stars, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Bob Odenkirk, John Mulaney, Olivia Colman, Will Poulter and Sarah Paulson. Molly Gordon joined the cast as Carmy’s love interest, Claire.
In its first year, “The Bear” became FX’s most-watched half-hour series and took home awards from the Screen Actors, Writers and Producers Guild Awards. The series was nominated for 13 Emmys at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, including best comedy series and acting nominations for White, Edebiri, and guest stars Jon Bernthal and Oliver Platt.
The series was featured at the 75th Emmy Awards; It brought Jeremy Allen White the “Best Actor in a Comedy Series” award, Ayo Edebiri the “Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” award, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach the “Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” award.
At the 81st Golden Globe Awards, the production received the “Best Television Series Musical or Comedy” award, Ayo Edebiri the “Best Actress” award, and Jeremy Allen White the “Best Actor” award.