On the award-winning series from FX, The Bear, the seventh episode of season two features Richie going to train for a week at the upscale fine dining place Ever with three Michelin-stars.
Sydney is in The Bear’s nascent kitchen still trying to refine her dishes as she watches clips of Naismith Hall of Famer Coach K. Outside in the dining area, the furniture for the booths are being assembled.
Meantime, Richie wakes up early and goes to Ever, one of the upscale restaurants owned by Carmy’s friend and former mentor Chef Terry.
Highlights and recap of The Bear season 2 episode 7: Every second counts
Richie has been sent to the resto for the week for his stage. Pronounced “staj.” Staging in the culinary world means an unpaid internship when a cook or chef works briefly for free in another chef’s kitchen to learn and be exposed to new techniques and cuisines. It’s taken from the French word stagiaire meaning apprentice.
The kitchen is immaculate and impressive. Below a huge digital clock on the wall is the same sign we saw at Chef Luca’s in Copenhagen and at the fine dining resto in New York where Carmy worked last season: EVERY SECOND COUNTS.
Garret, head of the back wait staff, tells Richie he’s on forks duty. This means he’ll be drying forks for the rest of the week, then move up to spoons if he’s lucky and does his job properly
Highlights and recap of The Bear season 2 episode 7: Fork meditations
This is what most of the episode consists of, basically. Richie wakes up at around 5 AM and does the fork grind badly. Until Garret, fed up with Richie’s attitude and zero work ethic, gives him a talking to outside Ever.
Two important things we learn from this scolding. One, that Ever has retained three Michelin stars throughout its 12 years and that it won Best Restaurant in the World the same year it opened. Two, that it’s got a waiting list of 5,000 people at any given time.
Wow. Well, I guess it IS the best resto in the world. Slowly, Richie gets better and realizes he needs to give respect to get respect, especially with what little he knows about the actual grind of the culinary world.
Highlights and recap of The Bear season 2 episode 7: Tay Tay and exes
On a call with his estranged ex-wife and baby mama Tiff, Richie learns that Tiff’s boyfriend has proposed to her. Richie tells Tiff congrats and says that he scored those Taylor Swift tickets that their daughter Eva wanted.
When he gets back to Ever, Richie spies the manager telling a table of two schoolteachers that they don’t need to pay for that night’s meal. At the kitchen meeting earlier that day, they’d learned that the two had always wanted to eat at a three-star and had been saving up for it. The teachers are delighted and shocked.
Slowly, Richie learns the art and science of service. One day, Garret asks him to put down the forks, don a suit, and trail him as the other servers and the traffic person work the room and classify the diners.
The pace, team coordination, and composure it takes to manage traffic for such a huge operation staggers Richie.
Highlights and recap of The Bear season 2 episode 7: Make their day with a deep dish, chef
At one point Richie is asked to run over to one of the pizza places and pick up an order of a Chicago deep dish. Back at Ever, the chef in charge crafts it into a fine dining miracle and lets Richie serve it to a birthday girl who’s from out of town.
The experience blows Richie away. It finally sinks in why people line up by the thousands to dine at Ever.
His straining steps up to tasting and properly naming the sides and sauces as well as being quizzed by the wait staff on trivia about the restaurant. He knocks it out of the park. By God, Richie has improved and now has a sense of discipline.
Highlights and recap of The Bear season 2 episode 7: Mushrooms with Chef Terry
On his last day as a stage, he runs into Chef Terry, played by Olivia Coleman, and as he helps her peel the mushrooms their convo exchange further cements Richie’s determination to make a habit of excellence and making smart use of his time.
With this sequence and the previous one where Richie trails the servers, this episode marks its range of quiet-loud dynamics with amazing results.
Chef Terry’s subtle wisdom and carriage carry with it hard-won wisdom and resilience. The insight he gained from observing the movement of the nuts and bolts of Ever was loud and in your face.
Highlights and recap of The Bear season 2 episode 7: Fool of a Jerimovich no longer
Since season one, Richie’s character has always been irritating, frustrating, and aggravating. At the old The Beef, the deceased Mikey always seemed like he kept Richie around more as a mascot or a fool at court to show diners they were getting their food from an authentic Chicago restaurant.
See, see it even comes with its own signature city crazy, the loud and overconfident know-it-all with its inland North American slang accent who swaps out his “th”s with “d”s.
Richie was THAT guy for The Beef. Now that his catharsis has come down with the fury of a divine revelation, it’s so good to see his character develop into something resembling an adult.
Huge props to Ebon Moss-Bachrach for his stellar performance in this episode. It was beautiful to see Richie work for and achieve redemption.
Richie is now a character who understands that a restaurant is more than a place that serves food.
One of the great trivia moments that tie up this episode with the rest of the season is Richie spotting a photo of Chef Luca (whom we saw train Marcus in Copenhagen in episode four) with Carmy in the kitchen hallway of Ever.
You can stream season 2 of The Bear on Hulu.