When the cast and crew of “The Bear” pay their compliments to the chef — they’re thanking themselves.
FX/Hulu’s new half-hour show takes viewers inside hectic kitchens in the competitive Chicago food scene. In order to get the Windy City cook grit right, the actors actually learned to what it takes to get behind the grill.
Executive producer Joanna Calo said the production took cues from the grime and authenticity of Sydney Lumet films of the 1970s. It had to feel real. “If we were making a film about ballet, we would teach the actors to dance,” she said.
At the show’s Sunday premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, star Jeremy Allen White (“Shameless”) talked to the Knockturnal on the red carpet about how the show pushed him as an actor and as a cook. White plays a chef who leaves the world of fine dining to help manage his family’s small sandwich shop.
“I’ve never studied a skill for a role like I did cooking for this,” he said. “And it was a really interesting way to get to know a character and start thinking about them because you are going through steps that you know a character has also gone through.”
He said he took his newfound culinary skills home. His wife enlisted him to cook a birthday dinner for her brother and his fifteen person guest list. “I was really anxious about shooting the kitchen sequences and shooting my knife work,” he said of the show’s filming. But, he concluded, the birthday dinner turned the anxiety level up more.
As for his finest on-set creation, his piece de resistance: a short rib he cooked on screen (and was eaten off screen). “We ate it…and it was ok,” he said with mild self assurance.
“The Bear” premieres on Hulu June 23.