PASADENA, CALIF. — Cast and producers from FX's The Bear are doing their mise en place for season two, as the hit half-hour show returns on Hulu in early summer. There will be 10 episodes, FX announced at the Television Critics Association press tour Thursday.
Christopher Storer created The Bear, and executive produces with Joanna Calo, Hiro Murai and Nate Matteson and Josh Senior. Courtney Storer, sister of Christopher, is the culinary producer on the show. A veteran chef, she, along with producer and cast member Matty Matheson, ensures that the cast pulls off their moves in the kitchen accurately, and that the kitchen, and its various trappings, is authentic as well.
Culinary producer is a unique title, and the cast raved about her and Matheson’s work on the show. “I don’t think we would be here talking about the show without their attention to detail,” said Ebon Moss-Bachrach, who plays Richie.
Matheson, a restaurateur, plays Neil Fak.
Jeremy Allen White, who plays Carmy, added, “If you’re doing something silly, they stop you.”
White and Ayo Edebiri, who plays sous chef Sydney, prepared for their roles by taking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education. White said the cast should ease back into their kitchen roles when shooting begins. “I’m confident we can get back in our bubble and there will be some muscle memory to it,” he said.
White got a Golden Globe earlier this week for best actor in a comedy. The Bear is hardly a comedy, but it is a half-hour show.
The show is about an acclaimed chef, Carmy, who returns home to Chicago to run his brother’s gritty sandwich shop following his brother’s suicide. The shop is in the gentrifying River North neighborhood, and the city, and its residents, are a key part of the show.
“Chicago was crucial to the story,” said Christopher Storer.
The new season sees Carmy convert the sandwich shop into a fine-dining place. One reporter asked Storer what that means for Moss-Bachrach’s Richie, who’s much more familiar with greasy beef sandwiches than truffles or caviar.
“Somebody like Richie is finding where he fits in,” said Storer. “That’s sort of what he’s looking for in season two.”
The producers said a claustrophobic kitchen is a great setting for high-energy, complicated characters to bump into each other and find themselves. “There’s no better setting than a restaurant for the pressures,” said Storer.
Courtney Storer added that “you never stop learning in a kitchen. There’s knowledge everywhere. Whatever job you’re doing, you’re learning.”
She also mentioned the “real love” that develops among cooks. “That kind of chemistry is very attractive in kitchens,” she said, describing restaurant life as “equal parts crazy as it is wonderful.”
Speaking of pressure, White was asked about the stress of nailing a second season after the success of season one. He said he’s “given some peace” in the trust he has in Christopher Storer, Joanna Calo and the producers. But “the pressure in my head remains the same,” he added. ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.