Why Chefs Are Calling The Bear Almost Too Real

A chorus of line cooks, restaurant workers, and TV critics alike have joined forces to praise one new FX series for its accurate portrayal of the good, the bad, and the gritty of restaurant culture. "The Bear," which has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, follows chef Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) who leaves a position at one of the world's top fine dining establishments to run his recently deceased brother's Chicago-based sandwich shop (via Vulture). 

One Bon Appetit writer, who previously worked in Michelin-starred restaurant kitchens, praised the "painfully real" depiction of restaurant culture and wrote that the show "portrays toxic fine dining culture so well that it was triggering to watch." They added that "after watching, I spoke with other restaurant workers. We all agreed the show is a stark reminder of our trauma." 

"'The Bear' gets a lot right about restaurant kitchens," one Washington Post critic wrote, including "the claustrophobia-inducing, breakneck-speed-running back of the house" as well as the pace and language of restaurant kitchens. 

Show creator Chris Storer "wanted to make a show that was true to back-of-house, that was true to the culinary world, and he knew that in order to do that everybody needed to train," White told the LA Times. "It's incredibly important for chefs, cooks, people that work in kitchens and restaurants that it all rings true. I think we'll both be able to pat ourselves on the back a little bit if we can walk into restaurants and get some nods from the line cooks."

Former cooks have praised the series' accurate depiction of restaurant culture

Luckily for White and the cast and crew of "The Bear," current and former cooks and restaurant workers were quick to praise the show's accurate — although at times triggering — depiction of the harsh realities of many restaurant kitchens. "['The Bear'] is so good, so true. 25 years in food service and I have never seen a 'real' restaurant show in TV/Movies. This is it. If you have a friend/family member in food service watch. This. Show," one Twitter user gushed.

Others shared how the show triggered some rough memories from their times working in restaurants. "['The Bear'] was pretty spectacular (and brought back some very buried PTSD from working a restaurant job for years) — truly real and visceral," another user wrote.

"I quickly fell in love with this show but [not gonna lie] the nostalgia is real and the stress that comes with remembering hotel kitchen days is tangible while watching," someone added.

Yet another fan proposed a kitchen walk-out if the FX series isn't rewarded for its realistic depiction. "We all need to take a moment to watch #TheBearFX," they wrote. "It savagely fills the Bourdain shaped hole he left and fills in the real cook style side of things Chekhov style. If it doesn't win an Emmy every hard working cook anywhere should stay home."