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Who Are Those Chefs In The Bear Season 3, Episode 1 - Are They Real?

Contains spoilers for "The Bear" Season 3 Episode 1 — "Tomorrow"

Throughout two seasons of "The Bear," we've met a handful of fictional yet extremely accomplished chefs, including the show's protagonist Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto (Emmy winner Jeremy Allen White). In Season 1, we meet an unnamed chef who torments Carmy — played by "Community" alum Joel McHale — during his time working at a restaurant in New York. In Season 2, Oscar winner Olivia Colman makes a surprise appearance in the standout episode "Forks," providing a gentler perspective on what it looks like to lead a kitchen, and when pastry chef-in-training Marcus Brooks (Lionel Boyce) goes to Copenhagen to learn more about his craft, he works under the tutelage of Carmy's former colleague Luca (Will Poulter). In the Season 3 premiere, "Tomorrow," we meet a few more chefs ... but this time, they're not fictional.

In a series of flashbacks that comprise basically the entire episode, Carmy is seeing training with a few chefs, and yes, they are real. Daniel Boulud and René Redzepi are two extraordinarily famous figures in the culinary world; Boulud owns multiple restaurants around the world, including the eponymous Daniel, where we can see Carmy training. Redzepi is known for his award-winning work at noma, the Copenhagen hotspot that has frequently been called one of the best restaurants in the entire world.

Daniel Boulud and René Redzepi are two iconic chefs — and they played themselves in The Bear Season 3

Thanks to his decades-long career as a chef and restauranteur, Daniel Boulud's name is, at this point, synonymous with fine dining. The restaurant seen in "The Bear," New York's Daniel, has been open since 1993 and has come to define haute cuisine in Manhattan, along with the French chef's other spots like Le Pavillon, Jōji, and the Blue Box Cafe at the top of the Tiffany's flagship, all of which are also located in New York. Within the context of the show, Boulud is presented as a patient and gentle teacher in the kitchen, showing Carmy how to make one of his famous recipes — specifically, "crisp paupiettes of sea bass in Barolo sauce" — and in the process, tells Carmy that the fish in the pan shouldn't smoke, but that he should "hear music" as it cooks.

As for René Redzepi, his restaurant noma is set to close at the end of 2024 after years of presenting diners with audacious local fare that utilized techniques like dehydrating and fermenting. The Copenhagen restaurant was famous for being impossible to book and for the experience that Redzepi and his staff gave to their diners; it even served as an inspiration for Mark Mylod's cutting 2022 satire "The Menu" according to one of its production designers (via Thrillist). In real life, Redzepi also spent some time working at The French Laundry, where Carmy is also seen training as a chef elsewhere in the season.

The Season 3 premiere of The Bear is an ambitious, unsettling, and incredible opening episode

The wild ride that takes place in Carmy's head in "Tomorrow" picks up where Season 2 left off — specifically, in the immediate aftermath of Carmy's massive meltdown when he gets stuck in the walk-in fridge at The Bear during their inaugural service for friends and family. After screaming through the door about how his relationship with his girlfriend Claire (Molly Gordob) will stop him from achieving the career he wants — which she hears — Carmy is trapped as his staff carries on without him, and the next morning, he's alone in his restaurant and forced to re-evaluate everything. While he prepares what appears to be an entirely new menu, crafting so carefully that he becomes obsessive, Carmy wanders through his own recollections, remembering everything from the mentors who helped (and harmed) him to the most traumatic moments the Berzatto family has shared together — even showing scenes that haven't been a part of the series just yet.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jeremy Allen White said that he loved this episode's approach to the inner workings of Carmy's troubled psyche, saying, "It felt like walking around in somebody's mind. It felt very fresh and new. It felt very exciting in its structure and style. It felt different, while also being very much at the heart of the same tone as the show." The ambitious episode certainly sets the tone for Season 3, and it was pretty brilliant of showrunner, creator, and "Tomorrow" director Christopher Storer — alongside his co-writer Matty Matheson, who plays Neil Fak on the series as well — to include two real chefs in the story.

"The Bear" is streaming on Hulu now.