Christopher Storer created “The Bear,” but his surprise FX hit might not nail the precision of its nail-biting comedy without his sister: culinary producer Courtney Storer.
Executive producer, associate producer, co-producer, sure;what exactly is required to be a “culinary producer?” At the show’s TCA winter press tour panel, the answer to that question was as satisfying as an Italian beef sandwich.
“Culinary producing goes beyond just food styling, or making sure the food looks beautiful,” said Courtney, the former culinary director of Jon + Vinny’s Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. “It’s a little bit deeper into what do people look like when they’re cooking? How are they holding a knife? Where are they standing?
“Movement in a kitchen is something that’s super important to this show,” she continued, describing the magnificently stressful one-shot Episode 107 as similar to dance choreography.
Culinary producing can also include pan and pot selection, dressing the set with the correct ketchup, and the difference between a “reach-in” and a “freezer.” Also, just what the hell is a low boy (it’s an under-counter refrigerator) or a salamander (that’s the broiler)?
Courtney, whom Chris calls “Coco,” is not alone in the tall task: Matty Matheson, who plays “Neil Fak” on the series, is among the series’ executive producers. He is also a renowned chef and restauranteur — so yeah, between the two of them, the food of “The Bear” is legit.
Matheson believes it’s that authenticity, particularly in the cast’s pivot-heavy movement around the kitchen, is why the food industry adopted “The Bear” as much as TV critics.
“You’re moving with urgency, you’re moving with purpose, or not — right?” he said. “You’re seeing a couple people with purpose and urgencies in the way that they move, around people that don’t. So you’re watching them move in a particular way that’s very important and makes a lot of sense to people in the (food) industry.”
Christopher said both Courtney and Matheson have the authority to “yell ‘cut’ if something was fucked, or looked way off.” Well, not much was fucked in the final Season 1 product, which is probably why it’s whipping up wins this awards season.
“The Bear” Season 2 enters production in Chicago at the end of January. The show will return with 10 new episodes this summer. The eight-episode first season is available on Hulu.