Gastronomy News Chef

Chef Mark Strausman Takes on "The Bear" Series: "It Shows Hell, but the Industry Is Healthy"

Francesca Feresin
copertina mark strausman

"That's not how the restaurant business works. Certainly not in my case." Mark Strausman expresses his critical opinion on "The Bear," the Disney+ series that depicts the tumultuous life in contemporary kitchens.

The opinion

Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri, the stars of "The Bear," trained with professional chefs to prepare for their roles in the TV series about a struggling Chicago sandwich shop. But Mark Strausman, an award-winning chef who spent over two decades as an executive at Freds inside Barneys New York before opening his own establishment, Mark's Off Madison, doesn't believe the series accurately portrays the restaurant industry, according to a detailed account by Insider.

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Strausman, truth be told, claims he hasn't actually seen "The Bear" but has heard enough about the plot to believe it's a kind of "melodramatic fiction." "Remember what Prince Harry said about 'The Crown'? It's the same thing," he candidly comments. But let's rewind a bit: in a 2021 appearance on "The Late Late Show With James Corden," the Duke of Sussex had described Netflix's portrayal as "made up," and "loosely based on the truth. It gives you a rough idea of what that lifestyle really entails and what pressures come from putting duty above family and everything else."

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Strausman feels the same way about "The Bear," a gruesome show where characters are often depicted screaming and berating each other in the chaotic restaurant kitchen. "I mean, Hollywood is there to make money. Hollywood is there to write stories that people want to see," he observes. "It's not about real episodes, it's not the restaurant business. Certainly not in my restaurant. We treat people with respect in the kitchen. So it's all melodramatic television fiction."

Mark Strausman

While Strausman is not a fan of the series, other chefs have written that "The Bear '' accurately reflected their experiences in the restaurant industry. In a 2022 piece for Bon Appétit, Genevieve Yam, who studied at the International Culinary Center before working in Michelin-starred kitchens, described the toxic image depicted in the episodes as "painfully real." Chef Jane Brendlinger, on the other hand, wrote in Food and Wine in 2022 that the story features "moments of frustration and extreme drama, as well as some plot twists that frankly don't make sense," but at the same time, it rekindled the "trauma" of their beginnings. Exactly what Strausman denies.

Cover photo: @Getty Images

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