What The Bear Season 3 Gets Right About The Importance Of Plating In Fine Dining

Carmy looking stressed on The Bear
Carmy looking stressed on The Bear - The Bear/Facebook/FX

This article contains spoilers for "The Bear" Season 3.

Culinary geeks and fans of prestige TV alike are rejoicing that the FX series "The Bear" has dropped all episodes of its much-anticipated third season at once on streaming services. Certainly by now, some diehard fans have binged the entire block, but even those who only caught the first episode, "Tomorrow," were treated to a haunting, poetic journey that ping-ponged across Carmy's experiences in life and various kitchens.

While themes, both postscript and prescient, abound in the episode, one that lingered in the background was the exacting and important nature of plating in fine dining. "The Bear" treats us to a bevy of cameos throughout the episode, including Olivia Colman's Chef Andrea Terry and Joel McHale's Chef David Fields as well as real-life chefs Daniel Boulud, René Redzepi, and Thomas Keller. These stewards -- and tormentors -- of Carmy's journey guide him through culinary basics -- trussing a chicken, for example -- all the way up to the precise plating of food.

Reverence for ingredients and overall flavor are paramount, of course, but the visual component requires just as much attention to detail. Out come the much-lampooned, but ever-useful, tweezers to pluck blossoms and gently lean herb sprigs over a perfectly cooked piece of fish. For those without a culinary background, this fussiness may seem silly, but it's a culinary maxim that we first feast with our eyes. In fact, there are many plating tricks that can even elevate your own meals at home.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

Plating Is Pressure And Perfection

Close-up of a chef plating food
Close-up of a chef plating food - PixelPerfectionStock/Shutterstock

"The Bear's" Season 3 premiere, "Tomorrow," offers us a richer peek into the life Carmy has led up to now. We know he staged at The French Laundry, worked the line at the ground-breaking Nordic restaurant Noma, and flourished in NYC. Now, we get to see how that patchwork has given him form. Real-life chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller appear as masters imparting knowledge to Carmy as a hungry young apprentice. Andrea Terry, a firm believer in Carmy's abilities, guides his skills further and encourages his journey -- but not without chiding him for his overbearance with underlings.

And David Fields, through a nightmare of Carmy's past, uses mockery and insults to focus the young chef's attention to every aspect of the plating. His motto: subtract. Fine dining at the highest levels hinges on the details, from how guests are greeted to the design of the dining room. So, it should come as no surprise that plating is so worried over. Top chefs consider a range of factors when it comes to how a dish is plated so that it is as visually stunning as it is gustatorily thrilling.

Contrasts of color catch the eye. An architecturally interesting arrangement offers surprise. Even the choice of plate itself is of great importance, as it is the canvas on which to paint. On "The Bear," Carmy is haunted by his past, and carries a yoke of expectations and anxieties. The show captures the duality of plating: It can elevate a dish to unparalleled heights, but the pressure of perfection looms large.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.