The Bear Season 3 Captures The Importance Of Restaurant Jobs As The Backbone Of Our Economy

This article contains spoilers for "The Bear" Season 3.

"The Bear" is back for Season 3, bringing with it all of the enmity, anger, resentment, frustration, anxiety, pressure, creativity, laughter, and joy that exists within the ecosystem of a fine dining restaurant. Egos collide, discoveries elevate, the past lingers, and plate after perfect plate is presented following a call for "Hands." Though sticklers may quibble about the minutiae or the Chicago restaurants featured on the show, the consensus among fans and industry professionals is that "The Bear" nails the restaurant gestalt. 

There are plenty of themes that can and will be pored over, but one that might be overlooked is how restaurant work is framed — namely how it depicts the strength and necessity of restaurants to both the individual and the economy, especially as the restaurant industry has recovered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Carmy, Sydney, Richie, and the rest of the back and front of the house teams reflect the diverse patchwork of people that coalesce around restaurants. Their backgrounds are disparate, but they share common elements and motivators. 

These are folks who operate a bit afield of the system, and restaurants have always been a haven for them. Regardless of one's skill set and level, there is work to be done in the bowels of the kitchen and on the floor. What's more, restaurant jobs are definitely not stagnant; initiative and curiosity are often rewarded with training and advancement. Far from frivolous, restaurant jobs elevate and sustain both individual people and the larger workforce.

Restaurants offer opportunities for advancement

Season 3 of "The Bear" kicks off with a painful and beautiful montage of disjointed scenes that ramble back and forth through time, mostly depicting the foundational elements of Chef Carmy. But we also see — through tears — pastry chef Marcus dealing with the death of his mother, a loss compounded by the fact that he was in Copenhagen staging at the ground-breaking Nordic restaurant Noma at the time. Tragedy aside, Marcus is a splendid example of the radiant draw and undeniable power of restaurant work. 

After an unspectacular college football career, he spent some time working for a phone company before taking a turn behind the counter at McDonald's. Frequent lunch break trips to The Original Beef of Chicagoland piqued Marcus' interest and allowed him to befriend Carmy's now-deceased older brother Mikey. Hungry to learn, thoughtful, and creative, Marcus baked rolls for the sandwiches, but Carmy knew he needed to be pushed. As the beef stand grew into a fine dining establishment, so, too, did Marcus morph from a mediocre baker to a gifted and disciplined pastry chef.

Marcus isn't alone, either. Tina, the set-in-her-ways short order cook of The Original Beef, was hesitant to let her guard down. When she finally did and let others' belief in her inspire her own, she proudly walked into culinary school to advance her journey. Season 3 of "The Bear" finds Tina as a confident line cook — the chefs who do the actual cooking — charging into her job with passion.