Anyone with experience in the food industry, or any small business, will relate to this powerful fictional series on Hulu, released last June. It’s intense.
‘The Original Beef’, a family-owned, Italian beef sandwich shop in gritty downtown Chicago, present day (post Covid).
Owner Michael commits suicide before the story begins, leaving his family co-owners in chaos. He has willed the joint to his brother Carmen, a top New York chef. Carmen returns to try to save the struggling family business. During Covid things had gotten so bad that key employee Richie had taken the initiative to deal drugs to help cash flow.
Carmen attempts to bring order by instilling the brigade management systems used by high-end restaurants, and upping the team’s culinary game. The crew is inspired and try their hand at cooking new dishes.
Episode 7: Things get Worse
Sufjan Steven’s haunting song ‘Chicago’ plays at the open. Sous chef Sydney has tried out her new risotto recipe on a random customer – who happens to be a food critic and publishes a glowing review in the paper.
As a result, the shop’s ordering system is swamped with to-go orders, printing out hundreds of order tickets maniacally. Carmen attempts to control the intense situation. Overwhelm and outbursts ensue, with Sydney accidentally stabbing Richie in the ass with a knife. In rage at the disfunction she and another chef walk out.
There are no real takeaways here, except maybe the power of media, reviews and the capacity of technology to overwhelm. And maybe some ideas on how, and how not, to lead. But the whole series (Season 2 is in the works) is…way beyond brilliant. Enjoy!