Jeremy Allen White said the cuts and burns he endured while working on the FX’s Hulu series The Bear gave him a sense of authenticity in his portrayal of master chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto.
White, who notoriously played Phillip “Lip” Gallagher on Showtime’s enduring series Shameless probably knew how to boil a pot of water. But that was the extent of his cooking abilities or interest before he pursued the role of Carmy. Like any good actor, White wasn’t going to fake being a professional chef so he became a professional chef.
Jeremy Allen White had no interest in cooking before ‘The Bear’
White admitted to having no interest in cooking before The Bear. My “interest level in cooking was pretty much nonexistent,” he told USA Today. As a result, he and co-star Ayo Edebiri immersed themselves in accelerated courses at the Institute of Culinary Education. The two-week experience was under the guidance of chef David Waltuck, who White insisted on referring to as “chef” when Waltuck kept telling him to call him Dave, GQ reports.
“I called him ‘chef’ all the time and he would say, ‘You can just call me Dave,'” White said. “And I’d say, ‘No, it’s better.'” In The Bear, Carmy brings a higher level of cooking to his deceased brother’s greasy spoon restaurant The Original Beef of Chicagoland. Calling the cooks who had worked for his brother for years, “chef” elevated their skills and attitude about their craft.
He also sliced his hands and endured burns while filming the series
White joked that the cuts and burns he encountered while filming The Bear only reminded him they were creating something real. He told USA Today that chefs “take a lot of pride in their battle scars, and these different burns and cuts they might get.”
“So it felt good,” White said about getting burned or cut while filming. “I felt like I was on the right path if I was getting hurt, in a way, which is weird to say. Early on, definitely with the knife work, I was shaving off a little skin here and there but nothing too bad.”
In spite of the cuts he got, as his knife whizzed over vegetables, White came out of the experience with a newfound love of cooking. He said his knife skills are “pretty good.” Plus, he’s gained mastery over some of the dishes seen on the show. This includes filet au poivre and short ribs. He added, “That Sunday roast comfort food, that’s what I like to cook the most.”
How is his character in ‘The Bear’ and ‘Shameless’ similar?
Shameless fans can’t help but note that The Bear is set in Chicago. Lip and Carmy both share a special talent who fights deep-seated demons. “I think that was something Carmy was really struggling with, too,” White told GQ. “We kind of found each other at a similar place. He knew he’s really gifted at this thing, but he could be painfully insecure about his abilities as well. I was feeling a little insecure at the end, too. ”
And while White admitted to feeling relieved once Shameless ended he hoped to find another project where he could recreate the same kind of magic. “I never thought I’d quite find something like Shameless. All those people are family to me. I love them so much and I love these people so much and it happened so fast, so I count myself doubly lucky,” he told a local Chicago ABC station.
The Bear, Season 1 is currently streaming on Hulu.
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