Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Bear season 2
In season 2, The Bear expands its scope beyond the chaotic life of Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White). The stressed out chef—who is busy launching a new restaurant in his family’s former beloved sandwich shop, The Beef, on a truly insane timeline—is still very much the star of the acclaimed FX series, now streaming in full on Hulu. But the new season makes plenty of room for The Bear’s excellent supporting cast, which includes Ayo Edebiri, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and real life chef Matty Matheson, to shine. Not to mention, a few famous faces who up the star power and add to the chaos of season 2.
While notable season 1 guest stars Jon Bernthal and Oliver Platt are back for more, this new run of episodes also features a range of Hollywood stars in small, but important roles, and blink and you’ll miss it cameos from notable Chicago chefs. Keep reading to see who shows up in The Bear season 2.
Chris Witaske and Jon Bernthal in 'The Bear'
Chuck Hodes—FX Networks
The actor, director, and comedian, best known for his roles in 1987’s Hollywood Shuffle and the late ‘90s WB sitcom The Parent’Hood, plays Sydney’s (Edebiri) dad. When he appears in episode 2, we see how much he loves his daughter, but also how scared he is that her newest restaurant venture will end as badly as her last. He even suggests that she reach out to a cousin at Boeing to see if he can hook her up with a more stable gig. Despite his concerns, he does buy her a copy of legendary Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s book, Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life, to help her as she embarks on her latest culinary journey. The self-help sports book pops up throughout the season, becoming one of its best running jokes.
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The Booksmart actor makes her debut in season 2, and her character Claire, a former crush of Carmy’s, becomes an integral part of his journey towards finding his purpose. Like Carmy, she grew up in Chicago and is buddies with his sister Sugar (Abby Elliott) and best friend, Fek (Matheson). Claire is finishing her residency in emergency medicine and is really jazzed about resetting tibias. She’s also a good listener who seems to understand the world Carmy grew up in. She’s a calming presence, which is something Carmy could use in his chaotic life.
Will Poulter and Lionel Boyce in 'The Bear'
Chuck Hodes—FX Networks
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 star ditches his most recent golden god getup as Adam Warlock to play a talented and heavily tattooed pastry chef with ties to Carmy. In episode 4, Marcus heads to Copenhagen to study under Poulter’s tough, but fair and kind English pastry chef, who, unlike Carmy, seems to have found a proper work-life balance. His “minty Snickers bar” dessert is one of the most beautifully composed dishes you’ll see on the show.
In episode 3, Sydney makes a new hire to the new restaurant’s kitchen crew, who happens to be the former Saturday Night Live cast member, who left the series in 2022 after six seasons. It doesn’t hurt that he is also a Chicago native.
The acclaimed chef and butcher now at Publican Quality Meats in Chicago shows up briefly in episode 3 to help Sydney pick out the right cuts of meat.
Sydney has a friendly chat with one of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurateurs, who was awarded Outstanding Restaurateur in 2015 by the James Beard Foundation. His advice to make sure she has a good partner in Carmy becomes a bit of an albatross around her neck throughout the season.
The chef de cuisine at Avec, a 20-year mainstay in the Chicago culinary scene for its midwestern take on Mediterranean dining, appears in episode 3 as part of Sydney’s food tour.
In episode 3, the executive chef and co-owner of Elske, a creative Chicago spot focused on American cuisine with Danish influences, shares some real talk with Sydney about bad business partners being the downfall of his and his wife, executive pastry chef Anna Posey’s previous restaurant.
In episode 5, viewers meet Kelly, Claire’s heartbroken bestie, played by the comedian who has appeared in Broad City, Search Party, and Abbott Elementary. (She has also written for Big Mouth, High Maintenance, and Miracle Workers.) Most recently, she showed up in I Think You Should Leave season 3 as the date of a guy with a hair-do that looks a lot like an English Springer Spaniel’s.
The gray-haired star of Better Call Saul—and Illinois native—is Uncle Lee, who in episode 6, which flashes back to a 2018 Berzatto family Christmas, can’t seem to get anyone to take a scalding dutch oven off his hands or listen to his take on the seven fishes. His fork fight with Mikey (Bernthal) sure escalates quickly.
Jamie Lee Curtis
The 2023 Oscar winner plays Diane, the very blonde, very red-nailed, very not okay (though, definitely don’t ask her) matriarch of the Berzatto family in episode 6, which may be the most stress-inducing episode of The Bear yet. No one ever said cooking the seven fishes was easy though. She shows up again in the present day-set finale for another heartbreaking moment.
The comedian appears in episode 6 as Stevie, cousin Michele’s partner, who no one remembers despite having met him a million times. Luckily, he really knows how to give a Christmas dinner speech. Of course, viewers know Mulaney from many (many) things, including his latest Netflix comedy special, Baby J.
The actor takes a break from the Ryan Murphy Cinematic Universe to join The Bear as cousin Michelle, who, in episode 6, plays Carmy’s biological family member, who has survived the Berzatto family dysfunction by escaping to New York, only coming back to celebrate the occasional holiday.
The Community and Love star shows up in episode 6 as Tiffany, cousin Richie’s then-wife, now ex, who vomits all over herself. (She’s pregnant, FYI.) The couple’s relationship in 2018 is sweet and sour, but it’ll have you rooting for a reunion in the future.
The former star of The Crown and current star of Marvel’s Secret Invasion plays Chef Terry, the owner and head chef at the three-star Michelin restaurant where Richie trains in episode 7. She teaches Richie how to fancily peel mushrooms and that it’s never too late to start over.
The rather stressed out chef in episode 7, who is really, really mad about a smudged plate, is the same actor who plays Mr. Shapiro in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever. (He’s also married to Scandal and Inventing Anna star Katie Lowes.)
The Parenthood star and “Hollywood actress” pops up in episode 7 to help Richie learn the color coded system that helps the front of house staff understand which diners have allergies, are celebrating a birthday, or eat unusually fast.
The actor who plays the general manager at one of the best Chicago restaurants in episode 7 previously appeared on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He’s also a co-executive producer and writer on The Bear.
The Community star follows up a memorable season 1 cameo as Carmy’s former abusive boss, with an equally stress-inducing appearance in the finale.
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