Yes … Who? Here Are the Chefs Who Appear in ‘The Bear.’


This article includes spoilers from Season 3 of “The Bear.”

Three seasons in, it is clear “The Bear” knows how to book a guest star.

Last season, this FX series about a chef — named Carmen Berzatto, but Carmy to nearly everyone — who transforms his family’s Italian beef sandwich shop into a fine-dining restaurant called the Bear, featured a parade of Hollywood celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis and Olivia Colman. In the new season, currently streaming on Hulu, “The Bear” is showing off its food-world bona fides with a series of cameos from star chefs.

In the premiere episode, titled “Tomorrow,” Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy reflects on his past, which leads to a series of flashbacks that take him to the kitchens of renowned establishments like Noma in Copenhagen and Daniel in Manhattan. Then, as a bookend, the season finale features a host of dining luminaries attending a closing dinner for Ever, a restaurant run in the show by Colman’s character, Andrea Terry. Colman is one of many returning guest stars (Curtis is another). Famous newcomers to “The Bear” include John Cena and Josh Hartnett, as well as the “Billions” co-creator and noted restaurant lover Brian Koppelman in an acting role.

That finale, titled “Forever,” blends fiction and reality in a way now familiar to “Bear” fans. That’s because Ever is a real restaurant in Chicago that is “open for business and thriving,” Curtis Duffy, one of the owners, said in a statement. Duffy also said he was “honored to host so many of my peers from across the nation.” And, in addition to Ever, the series continues to feature various Chicago spots, including the Croatian cafe Doma and the sausage purveyor Jim’s Original.

But it’s the chefs who steal the spotlight. Here’s who enters Carmy’s orbit this year.

In the flashback-heavy season premiere, Carmy, while standing outside O’Hare International Airport, tells his sister, Natalie (Abby Elliott), that “New York’s got everything.” The next thing we know, he’s at 65th Street and Park Avenue entering Daniel, the elegant domain of Daniel Boulud. Boulud himself soon appears onscreen, training Carmy directly. One of the dishes we see Boulud showing Carmy how to prepare is his famous sea bass wrapped in thin strips of potato, which he developed at Le Cirque. A 1989 article in The New York Times explained that “the dish works brilliantly for several reasons. The crunchiness of the ultrathin potatoes contrasts with the delicate bass but does not bully it; the heavily reduced, almost pungent, red-wine sauce is counterbalanced beautifully by the sweet leeks.”

Last season, the Bear’s pastry chef, Marcus (Lionel Boyce), went to Copenhagen to hone his talents, following in his boss’s footsteps. Now we see a glimpse of Carmy’s time there, specifically at the acclaimed restaurant Noma, under the eye of René Redzepi. As Redzepi surveys a wall of photographs of dishes, he and Carmy exchange a glance and a nod. Last year, Redzepi announced that he would be closing Noma, which currently has three Michelin stars, for regular service at the end of 2024.

Beran is the chef behind the French restaurant Pasjoli in Los Angeles. But onscreen, in the premiere, you can see him in a flashback working alongside Carmy at Ever under the tutelage of Colman’s character.

In the sixth and seventh episodes of Season 3, keep an eye out for Paulie James, a founder of the Los Angeles sandwich mini-chain Uncle Paulie’s Deli, a celebrity favorite. In the seventh, titled “Legacy,” James shows up to get the Bear’s Italian beef window running smoothly alongside Christopher Zucchero, the owner of Mr. Beef, the real-life inspiration for the show’s original shop. Zucchero has occasionally appeared in “The Bear” since its start, as Chi-Chi.

In the premiere, we also see Carmy basking in the California glory of the French Laundry. In the finale, the Laundry’s chef, Thomas Keller (also of Per Se), takes the stage in a cold open. Keller tells Carmy — who’s seen in flashback on his first day at that restaurant preparing the family meal — how to remove a wishbone from a chicken and truss the bird. “I know people call me a chef, but our trade is cooking and that, to me, is such a profound profession, because we get to really be part of people’s lives in significant ways,” Keller says. “So never forget that.”

One of the restaurants synonymous with fine dining in Chicago is Grant Achatz’s Alinea, so it makes sense that Achatz would show up to attend the “funeral” for Ever. There, Will Poulter’s character Luca, introduced last season in Copenhagen, quizzes him, asking specifically about Alinea’s edible balloons and Achatz’s “Truffle Explosion,” described in a 2016 Food & Wine article by Pete Wells as “exploding ravioli.”

During the funeral meal, Carmy schmoozes with Kevin Boehm, co-chief executive and co-founder of the Boka Restaurant Group. Boka has a number of notable restaurants around the country, including the namesake Boka from Lee Wolen in Chicago; Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat, with locations in Chicago and Los Angeles; and Michael Solomonov’s Laser Wolf in Brooklyn.

Wylie Dufresne is also at the party, where he functions as the nucleus around which many other guests orbit. He currently operates Stretch Pizza in New York but is best known for the groundbreaking WD-50, which closed a decade ago. Wells, writing in The New York Times, said, “No other chef did as much as Mr. Dufresne to make kitchen geekery cool,” thus he’s a perfect fit for “The Bear.”

Christina Tosi is a pastry chef best known for being a founder of Milk Bar, which offers her creations like cereal milk soft serve. But one of her early jobs was at WD-50. At the funeral dinner at the table with Carmy and Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), she talks about making “cornbread ice cream” and points to Dufresne, explaining that he “ran me through the gamut. How many different ways can you get ice cream to taste like cornbread? Turns out months and months of different ways. It’s, like, why I became obsessed with ice cream.”

Tosi is married to Will Guidara, who also appears at the Ever farewell. He used to run the Make It Nice hospitality group alongside the chef Daniel Humm until their partnership ended in 2019. Guidara wrote the book “Unreasonable Hospitality,” and is embedded in the “Bear” world. He has a story credit on the third episode of this season, “Doors,” and is a co-producer on the series.

Anna Posey, also one of Carmy and Sydney’s dining companions, is the pastry chef at the Michelin-starred Elske in Chicago. She runs it alongside her husband, David Posey.

At dinner, Malcolm Livingston II talks about making a ganache deemed “the greatest ganache ever” by “Alex.” That would most likely be Alex Stupak of Empellón in Manhattan, an alum of — where else? — WD-50. Livingston succeeded Stupak at that Dufresne establishment. Livingston now runs August Novelties, a line of dairy-free frozen desserts, but he also used to be the head of pastry at Noma.

During the Ever dinner, Luca compliments Rosio Sanchez on a dessert she developed that had “negroni ice cream on it.” A Chicago native, Sanchez is now a mainstay in Copenhagen. She worked at Noma before opening her taqueria, Hija De Sanchez, followed by her restaurant Sanchez.

Genie Kwon’s Filipino restaurant Kasama already had a major moment in “The Bear”: In the Season 2 episode “Sundae,” Sydney visits and orders the breakfast sandwich with longanisa (a Filipino sausage) and a hash brown, as well as the mushroom adobo and a mango tart. Kwon is at the Ever dinner and discusses how she doesn’t necessarily like cooking, but knew that she always wanted to “make things for people.”



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