A Commentary on the “Comedy” The Bear and Kitchen Toxicity
Anthony Bourdain once said, “All chefs are drunks…because we don’t understand why the world doesn’t work like our kitchens.” It’s this sort of mindset that leads to kitchen toxicity.
This is where our industry is coming from… and, fingers crossed, we are heading for something better!
Season one of The Bear is an example of unsustainable workplace practices that exist in the service industry, and season two is an example of how they should be progressing and improving.
In season one, the respected and famous chef fresh out of Noma, Carmy, throws temper tantrums and throws his employees’ food on the ground. He belittles his fellow chefs and does not respect their input.
Coming from the Midwest, the season one work ethic has been encouraged in most professions—give everything to your job and have low expectations in return. Being in the Pacific Northwest now, I have learned how old-school that is. Ready to be left in the past!
In season two, Carmy sends the pastry chef, Marcus, to research desserts in another country because he values the insight he will gain from the experience and put into his business. He listens to his Chef de Cuisine, Sydney, and shows that he values her more.
Prioritize your mental health, fam. Like…be 5 minutes late! Why would you turn to substance abuse when you could just calm down? But I have signed paperwork saying I would be fired the second time I was one minute late or served someone water with a straw. So I also get it.
But the world definitely shouldn’t work like those old kitchens. Why would we want our entire population as stressed as a mean chef during a dinner push? Society would come crumbling down like the ceiling at The Beef. Things run more smoothly when people feel prioritized and seen. We are people, not cogs!
Take care of yourself and don’t take that old-fashioned service abuse. We deserve more!