Get Hungry for AMC’s Feed the Beast

Feed the Beast Kellie Freeze
Image Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC
Feed the Beast
Image Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

While preparing to play a chef in AMC’s food- and wine-driven drama Feed the Beast, Jim Sturgess reveals that he spent time learning from industry pros and binging on cooking shows. “I really wanted to get inside of what it feels like to at least look like you know what you’re doing in a kitchen,” he laughs. He also paid attention to what he calls “the choreography of a chef,” which he describes as “how you cut things, how you hold things, how you maneuver around the kitchen.”

In the delicious, food-centric drama, Sturgess plays Dion Patras, an ex-con with an unbelievable culinary gift. He and his lifelong best friend Tommy (David Schwimmer), a gifted but alcoholic sommelier, embark upon opening a restaurant of haute cuisine in their hardscrabble, but quickly gentrifying, Bronx neighborhood. “Dion’s a very impulsive, chaotic character and Tommy’s very centered and much more inside of his head,” explains Sturgess. “They really are the yin and yang for each other.” Both men are atoning for past sins and healing from emotional wounds, and view the restaurant as the realization of a long-forgotten dream. In Sturgess’ words, “It’s the lifeline to get them out of the slump that they’re living in.”

And for Dion, cooking is more than a way to cope with his tragic past; it’s his means of escaping it. A chef recently told Sturgess, “When you’re cooking, the past and the future don’t exist. It’s all about the moment that you’re in.” Sturgess took that statement to heart when creating his character.

Dion’s hyper masculinity and volcanic physicality calls to mind renegade chef Marco Pierre White mixed with the bravado and showmanship of artist Jackson Pollock. Sturgess blushes at the comparison, but agrees. “Cooking is such an art form. Chefs create these incredible, visually stunning dishes that are also beautiful tasting. It just looks so incredible. It’s all about colors and textures and flavors. Without a doubt, it’s an absolute art form.”

But Sturgess is quick to point out that while the series is filled with meals that’ll make you swoon, Feed the Beast is about far more than food. “The story, really, is about a dysfunctional family that exists within this restaurant,” says Sturgess of the troupe of ex-cons, immigrants, gangsters and other outsiders who call their restaurant, Thirio — Greek for “beast”— home. It’s a satisfying meal with plenty of dramatic bite, whether you’re a foodie, or a fast-foodie.

Feed the Beast > AMC > Premieres Sunday, June 5; then moves to Tuesdays on June 7

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