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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

‘The Bear’ Season 3 Predictions, According to Chefs

Season 3 of The Bear is less than three weeks away, but the season’s plot, for the most part, has been kept under wraps. The trailer broadly teases exactly what we have come to expect from FX on Hulu original series — tensions in the kitchen, familial drama, and more delicious food. Since The Bear is so widely praised for accurately representing hospitality industry workers, there is no one better suited to guess season 3’s plot than professional chefs. Read on for five predictions based on chefs’ real-life experiences in restaurants.

1. More equipment issues

From the power outage of season 1 to the infamous broken walk-in door of season 2, Carmy and his team have experienced no shortage of technical difficulties. 2022 Food & Wine Best New Chef Caroline Schiff predicts that in season 3, these issues will keep on coming, and they’ll prove to become a bit… messy. 

“The grease trap will overflow,” she says. Grease traps are plumbing systems designed to prevent fats and solids from entering the sewage system. They’re a necessary evil for most restaurants and, according to Schiff, are bound to overflow at some point, leaking weeks or even months-old oils and food waste all over the floor. “It’s the grossest thing ever.” If we consider the course of the first two seasons, the grease trap might be one of many costly equipment issues within The Bear’s kitchen. “This is ongoing at any restaurant and they just don’t have the cash flow to pay for everything.”

2. Carmy will need more investors

“Money is going to increasingly be a problem,” says Schiff. Not only did Carmy promise to pay off Uncle Cicero’s $800,000 loan within 18 months of opening, but operating a new restaurant is an extremely expensive ordeal. “Fine dining and tasting menu-based restaurants always struggle to break even due to the high overhead of labor. They’ll need to reach out to equity investors for an injection of capital, and are forced into giving up some ownership.” 

Schiff anticipates that selling restaurant shares to someone outside of his family will be difficult for Carmy to grapple with, especially because he has so much pride in his late brother’s legacy — he’d hate to see his restaurant’s culture become sanitized by a corporate investor. 

Jonathan Zaragoza

Carmy’s professional success might come at a personal cost.

— Jonathan Zaragoza

3. Power struggles in the kitchen

At the end of season 2, we learned that The Bear restaurant was already bound for success — friends and family meal ran smoothly (at least from a diner’s perspective), reservations are booked for two weeks out, and Carmy, who was given the title of Food & Wine Best New Chef during his run at Noma, has enough name-recognition to get the Chicago press talking. But with more notoriety, comes more arrogance.

“Carmy’s professional success might come at a personal cost,” says Chicago-based chef Jonathan Zaragoza, owner of Birrieria Zaragoza. This is likely to cause tension between Carmy and Sydney, with sous chefs’ contributions often overshadowed by big-name executive chefs (especially when there are race and gender differences at play). “I see Carmy and Sydney butting heads more in terms of creativity,” adds Schiff. “There’s resentment and jealousy, and they’re not operating as a team.”

4. The search for stars and accolades

“My prediction for season 3 of The Bear will follow Carmy and the team pushing to get a Michelin star,” says Ni Nguyen, who opened his Denver restaurant Sắp Sửa last year with his wife and co-chef, Anna. This goal was already hinted at in season 2 and the season 3 trailer — Carmy believes that a Michelin star is necessary for his restaurant to be respected and achieve financial success. But according to Schiff, defining success through accolades can be a slippery slope. 

“The critics will be coming in hot and tensions are high because of that,” she says. Schiff and Nguyen both predict that this pressure will cause Carmy to go through an existential crisis. “He overthinks dishes and constantly questions himself, and his love for food starts to fade,” Nguyen says.

5. Finding the passion

Nguyen guesses that The Bear will not earn the Michelin star that Carmy and the team were striving for, but that might just be for the best. “Because that pressure isn’t there anymore, Carmy starts to cook like he used to. He finds the love for food again and realizes there’s more happiness when you start cooking for yourself — not for accolades.” As a new restaurant owner himself, Nguyen’s predictions are based on his own experience. “When James Beard announced the finalists for ‘Best New Restaurant’ and our name wasn’t listed, there was sadness but also relief. Our focus was realigned.” 

So hopefully, the ending of season 3 will bring Carmy to a better place than being locked in a walk-in in the midst of an emotional breakdown. We’ll certainly be bingeing the full 10 episodes on June 27 to find out how many of these predictions come to fruition.

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