Jun 27, 2022 - Things to Do

"The Bear" star on Italian beef and more

Guy in a suit

Jeremy Allen White at this month's James Beard Awards. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Hey it's Monica.

Over the weekend, I binged watched "The Bear," a new FX show about a brilliant chef who returns to Chicago to take over his family's Italian beef joint.

Why it matters: "The Bear" offers a sonic and visual love letter to this city–but it's also racking up some amazing reviews as the next "Chicago classic."

What's happening: I recently chatted with the show's Brooklyn-born star, Jeremy Allen White (Lip from "Shameless"), on the red carpet at the James Beard Awards about Chicago food and more.

Here's what he had to say:

M.E.: How did you research this role?

J.W.: I went to culinary school for over two weeks. I worked in a couple of restaurants here, Kumiko and Oriole … and spent a lot of time with a lot of great chefs.

What they're saying: "He's a good dude," Oriole chef Noah Sandoval tells Axios. "He did a really f-ing good job for someone who doesn't know what he's doing (in the kitchen)."

M.E.: What's your most memorable Italian beef experience?

J.W.: I like Portillo's. I know it's a franchise, but it was my first, and I've had others but I gotta say I really like it.

M.E.: Where do you eat when you come to Chicago?

J.W.: Portillo's for sure. But I also go to La Scarola and get chicken parm. And then I make sure to go to Richard's Bar around the corner, which I also love. I recently went to Smyth and The Loyalist and, of course, Oriole and Kumiko.

M.E.: Speaking of [eating bar] Kumiko, did you know Julia Momosé won a Beard Award this year for her book?

J.W.: No, I didn't. Really? I have that book. She gave it to me. That's so nice. That's awesome!

Drawing of chef and workers
Photo courtesy of FX

M.E.: Tell me more about your character in the show.

J.W.: Yeah, so my character grew up in Chicago. He grew up cooking and then he left and worked at some of the best restaurants in the world. But then his brother passes away and that's when the show starts because he comes back home to try and resurrect the family restaurant.

M.E.: Do you know how to do a Chicago accent?

J.W.: Umm, well.

M.E.: Like, can you say, "Pat's and Jack's slacks and pants"?

J.W.: Pat's and Jack's slacks and pants.

M.E.: Hmmm, you gotta say it with flatter A's.

J.W.: OK.

M.E.: Well, thanks. I can't wait to see the show. Good luck.


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