Ayo Edebiri went undercover to research for The Bear: no one knew who I was

Mild spoilers for already aired episodes of The Bear
The Bear really surprised me. I started watching it literally because I saw Jeremy Allen White in the title card and I loved him from Shameless, but ended up watching the whole show in one sitting because I really enjoyed its slice-of-life intensity. All the actors were perfectly cast in their roles and I loved the dynamic between Jeremy and Ayo Edebiri’s characters, Carmy and Sydney.

The show has been lauded and everyone is (late to the boat) in thirsting over Jeremy, but what gets a bit lost is how the actors actually trained for their roles. Jeremy and Ayo trained at the Institute of Culinary Education and several restaurant kitchens to prepare and look more realistic in their roles. Ayo says she essentially went undercover in the kitchens and no one knew who she was, which helped her research, but had an unexpected downside.

She said she was leaving and didn’t want to take any more of it on season one of FX’s hit summer Hulu streaming series The Bear.

We’re talking about Ayo Edebiri’s riveting character Sydney Adamu on the show. She’s a CIA-trained chef who returns to her Chicago home town to work for James Beard Award-winning chef Carmen Berzatto (played by Jeremy Allen White) who’s trying to improve the rundown eatery The Original Beef of Chicagoland, owned by his late brother. She makes a bold decision at the end of the season in the restaurant. The season winds down with The Beef crew, now the Bear, heading into another business venture rather than fix their problems and pay off their debt.

The Upright Citizens Brigade alum tells us that she not only worked in restaurants before she started writing and acting (“that first-hand research trauma started there”), but she and White trained in a kitchen for a few months prior to filming The Bear.

“People recognized Jeremy, but nobody knew who I was at all, which was good for research,” she told us on the Primetime Emmy red carpet tonight.

“It was kind of annoying when I was like ‘Yeah, I stayed up late to clean until 12, and Jeremy was like ‘I got to go home!’”

The Bear was re-upped for a second season back in July with FX Entertainment President Eric Schrier exclaiming that the series “exceeded our wildest creative, critical and commercial expectations.”

[From Deadline]

The chefs in at least one NYC restaurant knew who she was — like Ayo’s character, my friend is a sous chef, and one of Ayo’s training spots was at the restaurant next door. Ayo going undercover was like inadvertently going method, getting stuck with clean up and all. But it paid off because her kitchen skills did look pretty realistic. As depicted in the show, real restaurant kitchens are super intense and fast-paced. It must have been crazy to be thrown in there to observe/train inconspicuously, but also realistically.

Thankfully the show has been renewed for a second season, for which details are scant. When ET asked, all Jeremy said was that they’d be building the new restaurant, which is hardly a spoiler considering the end of the first season. Keeping it coy, I see. Ayo and Jeremy presented together (and looked very attractive) at the Emmys, keeping the momentum going for their hit show and adding to the overall thirst. Some people seem to want their characters to get together, but Ayo doesn’t think it would be a good idea and neither do I. Their connection is very different than that and I think they’re both too serious and professional. Carmy is Sydney’s boss and that would be a very mid-series Lip Gallagher move.

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15 Responses to “Ayo Edebiri went undercover to research for The Bear: no one knew who I was”

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  1. CheChe says:

    Great background info. I’ll give the show a look. Ever since I read Anthony Bourdain ‘s Kitchen Confidential the restaurant business has been a compelling story well. Ayo is a much needed fresh talent for tv.

    • Southern Fried says:

      If you liked Kitchen Confidential you probably will like Eric Rupert’s 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line. I’ve read it twice and given as gifts. It makes you feel like you’re right there in with him all the way through. Excellent writing and such an interesting life he’s lived.

  2. teresa says:

    They are both really good, and I did wonder about their training, as their knife skills are pretty good!

  3. Southern Fried says:

    Warning to all who watch the Bear > be prepared to watch it straight through, you won’t be able to help yourself.
    Yay a 2nd season! Everything about it is fantastic.

    • Owlsyn says:

      I know. I decided to watch one episode and then, next thing I knew, it was hours later and I was done with the entire season. Like, what happened???

    • SAS says:

      I could only watch it one at a time! There are not enough years between me and my hospitality jobs to binge that stress-fest!!

      I loved it though, such a great cast, can’t wait for s2!

  4. TQ says:

    She is sooooo good on the show. Absolutely love her! Can’t wait for Season 2!

  5. Lens says:

    I loved it but I’m a sucker for that documentary style realistic fiction. You all can have your unrealistic frothy rom-coms! And they both were great – lots of chemistry there but it’s because they admire each other professionally so much. Yeah I guess it’s good they don’t pair them romantically.

  6. tealily says:

    A friend of mine worked with Ayo and had nothing but nice things to say about her. She better stick around for season 2!

  7. Kristen says:

    The show is so good and Ayo is amazing in her role, as is Jeremy. I’ll admit I want them to get together, but I’d be okay with it being a very slow burn and never being the focus, like X-Files or something.

  8. schmootc says:

    I’m the opposite – I watched all of it, but did it pretty much one episode at a time. It was a little too intense for me to watch more than one at a time.

    I couldn’t agree more about just wanting them to just stay colleagues though. Their energy is very different and it would seem like a very Lip Gallagher move. And kind of soap opera-ey, which isn’t really the kind of show it seems to be.

    • tealily says:

      Same here, one at a time. I’m still not done, actually. And yeah, it would be refreshing to not have the colleagues/former colleagues turn into love interests. Work family is a different relationship. It’s nice to see that portrayed, in all it’s messiness.

    • Kate says:

      Same. All the yelling and loud noises made me so stressed out I had to stop after 4. I’m not sure if I’ll keep going or maybe one at a time would be ok with a palate cleanser in between of something fluffy.

  9. outoftheshadows says:

    I want her to get together with the dessert chef. His donuts look extremely… tasty.