*Spoilers for “The Bear,” Episodes 4 and 7, Season 2 below
Viewers won’t see Curtis Duffy’s face while watching the second season of The Bear, but the chef of Michelin-starred Ever’s hands are all over the production.
That’s not a metaphor. In Episode 7, titled “Forks,” Duffy’s hands are seen plating the dishes served at Ever. At least The Bear’s version of Ever, the Fulton Market restaurant co-owned by Duffy and Michael Muser. The Bear’s version of Ever is a three-starred establishment from chef Terry (portrayed by Oscar winner Olivia Colman), hailed as the world’s best restaurant.
“Obviously we have no power over the script — they wrote the script,” Muser says. “So in the script that says, you know — ‘insane world-renowned three-Michelin-starred restaurant’ — for sure Curtis and I sit kind of disgruntled with our two stars.”
Muser and Duffy closed Ever for a week in March so the crew could film. They also closed After for two days in April so crews could film Episode 4. The sibling bar attached to Ever serves as the Copenhagen kitchen where actor Will Poulter’s dreamy pastry chef Luca resides.
The hook for Episode 7 was to show Richie Jerimovich, the foul-mouthed operator of the Original Beef of Chicagoland, how a fine dining restaurant operates. While Duffy and Muser don’t appear onscreen, Ever director of hospitality Amy Cordell is in a handful of scenes. The on-set wardrobe is also authentic with the cast using the same workwear as Ever’s employees. Sarah Ramos, the actress who played the show’s expediter, even spent a few nights staging at Ever.
Some of the dishes are from Ever’s menu, too (an Oscietra Grand Reserve caviar with honeydew melon and hazelnut dish appears in Episode 4; currently it’s an Ever amuse-bouche). Duffy collaborated with the show’s culinary director, Courtney “Coco” Storer, on others: “We wanted to have full control over what that was going to look like and worked with them every step of the way in plating the food,” Muser says.
The dishes include a curious transformation involving Pequod’s Pizza and micro basil. More about that another time.
Colman’s scene serves as a kind of bookend to Richie’s journey, imparting advice while peeling mushrooms in the kitchen. Duffy sorted through seven or eight exotic mushroom options in picking the ideal mushroom for Colman to peel with Ebon Moss-Bachrach. In the end, the show settled on crimini, the common variety of white mushrooms found at most grocery stores.
The show did embellish. Ever does not have branded tablet software to show reservations in real-time. And while it’s not out of the question for the restaurant to send a rideshare to pick up customers, it’s not common.
This wasn’t Duffy and Muser’s first connection to The Bear. Matt Danko, a consultant on the show and the executive chef at the Emily Hotel, worked under the two while at Grace, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Grace appears in Season 1, subbing in for New York’s Eleven Madison Park in flashback episodes.
Muser also says the scene in which the restaurant staff agrees to comp two teachers is rooted in reality. Teachers Tim and Jill Perry from suburban Elmhurst; Jill’s dream — per her Instagram page — is to dine at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
“We’re only doing 50, 60 covers, right? So that’s going to break down to maybe 15 to 20 reservations — 20 names,” Muser says. “So I think it is totally fair to ask of every restaurant: who are those people and why are they coming in here tonight?”
Knowing the clientele is essential: “Every table is its own universe,” Muser adds.
That’s the type of enthusiasm that rubs off on Richie during the show, who, as Muser says, finally figures out his purpose. After Richie dons his suit there’s another change, as if Moss-Bachrach is channeling Muser’s gestures and dining room presence. Muser says there’s only a passing resemblance: “I relate to the character in the sense that he’s not going to just drink the Kool-Aid,” he says.