In Hulu’s new comedy The Bear (all Season 1 episodes are available Thursday, June 23), Chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) gives up his career as a chef at the world’s best restaurant to take over his family’s sandwich shop, The Original Beef of Chicagoland, following his brother’s suicide. With the restaurant deeply in debt, Carmy has to win over the stubborn kitchen staff, manage the menu, and keep the business and his sanity intact.
Helping Carmy out is young, smart and ambitious Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), an aspiring chef who comes looking for a job at her father’s favorite restaurant. “There’s a chance to prove herself by working at The Original Beef — not just to Carmy, who she admires so much, and the OG crew of The Beef — but to herself,” Edebiri.
The Bear brings the viewer into the frenetic, controlled chaos of a cramped kitchen where the actors have to take the heat. “It was a working kitchen and when we’d shoot, the A/C would be off and we’d be cooking in scenes, so the burners would be blasting,” Edebiri says. “On top of that, my character loves a collared shirt. So yeah, it could get hot.”
Edebiri kept it cool for this edition of our “5 Questions”:
1. What’s been your strangest or most interesting fan encounter?
I honestly haven’t had any strange encounters. I think whenever anyone recognizes me, I make it strange, because I’m sort of shocked that anyone has recognized me from anything. Once I was at a restaurant and ordered food and the waitress recognized me from Big Mouth just from my voice, which was pretty cool.
2. Can you tell us about a time you were starstruck?
I once did Nick Kroll’s stand-up show at The Largo out here in L.A. and Dana Carvey was also on the line-up. I grew up pretty religious and the first movie I was allowed to see in theaters was The Master of Disguise. So, he’s someone who has imprinted on me in such a specific way. I obviously didn’t say this to him, but he was so funny and kind and cool. It was both exciting and weirdly gratifying to meet him. We all just want to be turtlely enough to get into the Turtle Club that is life, you know?
3. What’s a movie that you can watch over and over again?
My favorite movie ever, ever is Babe. I think it is a piece of genius cinema, and I think that because I’m right. I also watch Good Will Hunting whenever I get a cold because it cures me of my main illness (being from Boston).
4. What’s your favorite sports team?
Speaking of being from Boston … I pay zero attention to sports, but whenever a game is on and there’s a team from Boston competing, it’s the thing I care about the most in the world. I love yelling about sports and getting deeply invested for a few games, but I don’t have the stamina to be a true sports fan.
5. What’s a job you had before (or outside of) acting?
I actually used to work at a restaurant for many years! I worked in reservations, then I worked as a host, and then finally, I was a waiter and barista. So elements of The Bear definitely took me back there.