The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri have excellent chemistry in the summer breakout hit, The Bear, which is set and filmed in Chicago, but don’t go shipping them, at least not in Season 2!
The Bear is about a classically trained, world class chef, played by Shameless’ Jeremy Allen White, who takes over a small Chicago sandwich shop, left to him by his brother (Jon Bernthal) who died by suicide.
Edebiri plays Sydney Adamu, a hard-working, talented and personable restaurant worker who is trying to bounce back from her failed catering business by taking a job working with Carmy at The Original Beef of Chicagoland. Familiar with his previous work, she is a big fan of his and wants to learn all that he has to teach her.
Despite their undeniable chemistry neither Edebiri nor White believe their characters are destined for romance. The two were assigned to train together at the Institute of Culinary Education so the actors are believable in their roles as culinary pros and White explained to Variety how they developed their behind the scenes friendship,
“When we started at culinary school, we were instantly almost competitive with one another which was very, very weird. We didn’t really know each other. We’d met and we were excited to do the show, and then this quiet competition started to sort of impress our teacher. It was odd but worked for the show,” says White.
Edebiri, who has some previous restaurant experience from working in a nursing home kitchen and various service industry jobs in New York, took researching the role one step further and worked in commercial kitchens alongside women chefs, which are actually few and far between.
She shared her experiences with Variety, “We’ve all experienced the same thing just in different ways. When you’re in a woman in a male-dominated industry, in an industry that’s not built for you to have a sustainable life, when your vocation is your passion, then you have to reconcile the thing that you love and then, turning that thing into capital, into money and to rent, how crazy that can all feel.”
Co-showrunner Joanna Calo explained how the entire cast has some pretty amazing chemistry with each other. “The relationship that Ayo and Jeremy have is so special,” says Calo, “and really different from the relationship that she has with Ebon (Moss-Bachrach who plays Richard ‘Richie’ Jerimovich) and the relationship that she has with Lionel (Boyce who plays Marcus.) There is this really special thing where they all took the assignment really seriously and became friends in different ways.”
When the subject of a possible romance was brought up Edebiri quickly shot down the idea.
“I know there are people who are very invested in that, and I understand and I appreciate it, but it was not that for me,” Edebiri told Variety with a laugh. White agreed, “No! It was never discussed by anybody.”
White went on to explain that he didn’t think Carmy had the emotional capacity to even be a real mentor to Sydney.
“Certainly not!” said White. “I hope that’s something that’s explored a little bit in the second season — if he can kind of get out of his own way a little bit, how can he help everybody else in the kitchen and also how can they help him? I think, in this first season, he was far too fracted and had a lot of selfish thinking going on. I think he wanted to be there for Sydney, but I don’t think he was capable.”
When Season 1 ended, we were shown that Carmy was completely rebranding the restaurant to his specifications after an unexpected financial windfall.
“Season 2 really is about the opportunity to start fresh and what does that mean. What does Carmen and Sydney’s dream restaurant look like? But also at the same time, what is a dream restaurant in 2023 look like? I think that’s the thing they’re sort of battling with,” show creator Chris Storer told Variety.
The restaurant based dramady became an instant hit featuring the familiar faces of guest stars such as Oliver Platt (Chicago Med’s Dr. Daniel Charles), Amy Morton (Chicago P.D.’s Trudy Platt), and John Hughes’ muse for Chicago based 80’s films, Molly Ringwald.
In addition to White, Edebiri, Moss-Bachrach, and Boyce, the half-hour series also stars Abby Elliott, and Liza Colón-Zayas, with Edwin Lee Gibson and Matty Matheson in recurring roles.
The Bear was created by Christopher Storer (Ramy, Eighth Grade), who also serves as executive producer alongside Joanna Calo (BoJack Horseman, Undone), Hiro Murai (Atlanta, Station Eleven) and Nate Matteson (Station Eleven, The Choe Show) of Super Frog and Josh Senior, with Tyson Bidner (Ramy) serving as producer and Matty Matheson as co-producer. The series is produced by FX Productions and is streaming now, exclusively on Hulu.