Is The Bear Chef Carmen Berzatto Based On A Real Character?

If you've ever worked in the food industry, you'll feel strongly connected to FX's new show "The Bear," which follows chef Carmen Berzatto as he takes over his brother's restaurant, The Original Beef of Chicago. Carmen Berzatto, played by Jeremy Allen White, inherits the restaurant after his brother's death. The character spent his career in top restaurants, even earning a James Beard award. So, when he finds himself in this chaotic world of a gritty urban kitchen, it's a bit of a culture shock. He has to deal with staff members who are set in their ways and have little respect for the way an organized fine-dining kitchen is run. The clash of personalities in "The Bear" blends to increase the level of usual chaos of a restaurant kitchen.

During an interview with Where is the Buzz, Jeremy Allen White said, "What really struck me about Carmy was how wrapped his identity was in being a chef and what a lonely place that could be." White trained for his role as chef by attending culinary school in Pasadena and then worked in Michelin star restaurant, Pasjoli in Santa Monica under Chef Dave Beran, per AwardsRadar. "I didn't understand the sacrifices chefs at that level make," White told AwardsRadar. "I think it can be a very hostile environment."

Still, it's the realism of the show's characters and environment that makes audience members question if the hit show is based on a real story. Is Carmen Berzatto a real chef?

What's real and what's fiction?

"The Bear" follows Carmen Berzatto as he struggles to find order and define roles in his kitchen brigade. The story created by writer Christopher Storer seems so realistic that it's hard to believe that it might not be based on a real person. The Los Angeles Times reported that Storer enjoys epicurean cooking and that his sister is a former chef and worked as a producer on the show. However, that's as close to reality as the show's lead character gets. All the characters are purely a figment of the writer's imagination. 

What is real, though, are some Illinois landmarks, like The Original Beef of Chicagoland restaurant in the show, which was filmed at Mr. Beef on Orleans Street in Chicago, per Cinemaholic. This is not the first time the sandwich shop has been featured in a TV show; in 2010 it was featured on an episode of "Food Wars," and in 2014 on an episode of "You Gotta Eat Here," per TV Food Maps.