It's the TV show that's got everyone talking - the raw, realistic representation of operating a hospitality business in a post-Covid world where tensions run high and the pressure to stay afloat is even higher, leaving relationships - and everything else in their wake - in tatters.


Lionel Boyce plays aspiring pastry chef Marcus Brooks in The Bear, the softly spoken, likeable character who becomes a beacon of calm amid the sea of chaos around him. Now the hit show is back for a third series and Lionel joins Good Food podcast host Samuel Goldsmith to discuss everything he's learnt from being on the show, including upping his pastry skills and whether the food they're cooking on set is edible - let alone tastes good.

Here are 11 things we've learnt about Lionel Boyce from his conversation with Samuel.

Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, Edwin Lee Gibson, Matty Matheson and Liza Colón-Zayas in The Bear

1. He undertook culinary training for every season

In preparation for filming season one, Lionel attended the renowned Hart Bageri in Copenhagen to help him get to grips with his character.

"They wanted to set everybody up with some kitchen training. I went over there for two weeks and just kind of staged. I worked in the bread department, learning and observing them, making different kinds of breads like rye breads and sourdough.

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"They didn't let me touch any of the stuff in the pastry section like the croissants. They're much more complicated and it was a tiny nook... I was like the size of three people up there!"

For the second season, he worked with Courtney Storer, the show's culinary producer.

"I went to her house a couple times a week for a few weeks leading up to the shoot. We would make different kinds of breads and desserts and just have fun and mess around and be creative.

"For this season, I worked with Malcolm Livingston, this incredible pastry chef who's worked in high level Michelin places. We'd go to Courtney's house and practice different techniques and get used to the repetition to understand what it takes to get to that level, how people operate at a Michelin level."

2. He loves the process of learning something new

"I do love learning - learning is one of my favourite things. I love that moment when you start to connect the dots and your brain is able to apply it to other parts of your life."

From his time with pastry expert Malcolm, he learnt where there was room for creative freedom - and where you have to follow the recipe to a T.

"Where baking can feel intimidating as you must follow the recipe exactly otherwise you are afraid of ruining it, something I learnt from working with Malcolm was that he would know with certain ingredients where you must be exact and with everything else there's space within the margins that even if you do make a mistake, it's just the creative side to it.

"He taught me how to be able to still express myself within something as rigid as baking where it feels like there's no colour but you can still create colour within it."

3. His homemade Nutella is his party trick

Lionel's training with Malcolm and Courtney has extended beyond the fictional realms of The Bear's kitchen.

"I learnt how to make homemade Nutella from them and this is what I'm bringing with me everywhere now. I'm showing up to everyone's house with a jar and I'm making it a thing.

"To the point where people say 'Did you get Lionel's jar?' and if they say no they feel weird."

4. Lionel sees some similarities between himself and Marcus

"I always call Marcus the glue or the peace, he's even-keeled, he's steady and reliable. There's rarely moments where he's frazzled, he's stable. I'm used to being around people with lots of energy, lots of ups and downs. I think it attracts itself to me because I'm just the opposite."

Does he think he could work in that sort of kitchen environment like Marcus?

"I like to think of myself as a person who can adapt to any situation, so I think my ego wants me to say yes, but I don't know in reality.

"In season one when he gets the doughnut slapped out of his hand, I remember thinking 'Yeah, this guy's an idiot. What are you doing?' Like, how can you be so oblivious? I would never do something like that. But if someone were to do that to me, I don't think I could work in that environment."

5. Season two was a pinnacle for his baked goods...

Does he ever bring any of his baked goods into work?

"Season two I would say was a high point. If you weren't around me then, boy, you missed out. I was leaving Courtney's house and we were making focaccia from scratch.

"We were making honey buns and practicing doughnuts, and I would just leave with a big plate of whatever we were making. Courtney, she's such an incredible chef, was doing the heavy lifting and I was riding the coattails, but I was taking all the credit in wherever I went.

"That was the only time really where people were getting to experience something I made."

6. ... but he probably won't be opening his own hospitality business anytime soon

Now that he's seen what it's like to work in such an environment, would he ever be tempted to open his own place?

"I think the more I learn about this show, the more I'm like, this is not an easy thing. The more you understand that even with the most successful restaurants, their head is just above water. It's not something that you can just lightly walk into. I'm looking at it from that point of view.

"It requires your full attention and care to make it work. My focus is trying to make my career work - the energy can only go to one or the other."

7. He doesn't get to eat delicious food on set all the time

As anyone who has experience in the food styling world will know, the food on set doesn't always taste as delicious as it may look.

"In the Honeydew episode, there was a scene where Will, who plays Luca, asked me to try a dessert that I described as a minty Snickers bar.

"This is one of those TV magic situations where they need it to look stable, but the actual ingredients that go into making that specific dessert weren't stable, so they had to cheat it. It was basically a flavourless gelatine and some marzipan.

"With the minty ice cream, it was just frozen spinach - and you need to look like you want to eat it on camera. They know how to make it look good, and you can pay the price the hard way."

8. He loves southern food with a modern twist

When Lionel isn't filming, he can be found enjoying some of his favourite, comfort food dishes in Los Angeles.

"My Two Cents in LA is one of my favourite restaurants. It's one of those places where everything on the menu is really good. It's southern food, but they also have tacos on the menu.

"They have these shredded oxtail tacos that are incredible, with a whiskey reduction sauce and some kale. They have turkey tacos too, made with big flour tortillas that are crispy and pressed down.

"They have a pork chop that's like a Jamaican jerk play on a pork chop. I spend a lot of my time there, clearly."

9. He hasn't had any major on-set kitchen disasters to date

Thanks to the organisation of the team behind-the-scenes, Lionel hasn't experienced any serious disasters unlike the characters in the show.

"There actually hasn't really been any cooking disasters. There's a full team of trained kitchen people as well as a firefighter on site. You know, everyone's prepared and everyone's like, let's make sure we don't melt this place down.

"The only thing is sometimes you want a certain thing to cook. I think this season we were trying to make a caramel and it just wouldn't come to the right boil, so it's more things like that."

10. Lionel cooks about 40% of what we see

Due to his character being a pastry chef, it's just not practical - or possible - that we get to see Marcus make anything from start to finish in the show.

"I think it's about 60/40 where I'm doing 40% of it. I lot of my things are just me but you can't see the whole process when it comes to baking.

"We don't have that kind of time to watch something rise. So for my character you're watching things that can be done on camera. It would be different if I were cooking as you can make pasta in real time or sear a piece of beef."

11. His food guilty pleasure is a Chinese pork bun

Although Lionel doesn't eat a lot before going onto set so as not to be too full for filming, he does have a food guilty pleasure - or two.

"Sometimes someone picks up doughnuts from a doughnut shop for the crew. There was this Chinese bakery that had this pork bun and every once in a while they would show up with it on set. That's something I can't resist.

"It's incredible. It's one of the best things I've ever had in my life."


Listen to the full episode and then delve into more Good Food podcasts.

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