On Tuesday night, Jeremy Allen White won the Golden Globe for Best Television Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series and further cemented FX’s The Bear as a success. The TV show, an FX production that streams on Hulu, focused on White’s culinary adventures as Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, a Chicago native that ventures out to cook at some of the world’s best restaurants.
“I love The Bear, I love Carmy,” White said in his acceptance speech, adding that the role has “changed his life.”
Coincidentally, one of those restaurants that White’s character, Carmy, worked at was Noma, the three-Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant known as “the best restaurant in the world.” Earlier this week, chef René Redzepi announced Noma would close next year.
White immersed himself in the kitchen learning from culinary director Courtney Storer, who grew up in a big Italian family in suburban Park Ridge, along with brother and series creator Christopher Storer. Courtney Storer worked in a variety of roles at restaurants, darting between Chicago and California (She says she lied about her age in high school to work at Sonny’s Express in Park Ridge). She would later work at GT Fish & Oyster, Boka Group’s beloved River North seafood restaurant that closed on December 31. The siblings’ love for River North Italian beef stand Mr. Beef run by the family of childhood friend Chris Zucchero, inspired the show’s main setting, the Original Beef of Chicagoland.
Beyond Courtney Storer, Chicago pastry chef Sarah Mispagel of Loaf Lounge assisted in baking the treats that appeared on the show, including a chocolate cake that emulates the cake served at Portillo’s (but without the chain’s secret ingredient: mayonnaise). Courtney Storer’s friend, Toronto chef Matty Matheson, also played a role on and off screen.
The first season of The Bear debuted in June 2022. At first, locals reacted poorly, complaining that the series didn’t accurately show Chicago, pointing out mistakes in geography and wanting a more realistic portrayal of gentrification’s effects. The high-stress environment of the kitchen, which often shows managers yelling at underlings, was also too realistic for some in the restaurant industry who said the show was too triggering to watch.
But, there were also those within the industry who were happy to see their lives accurately portrayed on screen. Black chefs empathized with Sydney Adamu, the young Black chef played by Ayo Edebiri, and how they are often invisible and stifling career progression.
With White’s Golden Globe, The Bear has entered yet another phase in gaining critical recognition.