The Bear Season 3 Chef Cameo You Might Have Missed, Fully Explicated (Yes, It's Who You Thought It Was)

This story contains spoilers for The Bear‘s season-three finale.

Is The Bear a comedy? That is a question that’s been debated ever since the FX on Hulu show began its acclaimed run. All I know is that, as much as I wept this season, one moment had me cackling. In the finale, Carmy and Sydney attend a “funeral” for the unnamed Michelin-starred restaurant—featured in the season-two highlight “Forks”— run by Olivia Colman’s Chef Andrea Terry, who is closing up shop.

At the beginning of the episode, Carmy gazes upon a collage of photos commemorating all the people who’ve worked at Chef Terry’s place. He’s there. So is his buddy Luca, played by Will Poulter. Also among those images, though? A photo of Bradley Cooper. Yes, that Bradley Cooper. As in, the Maestro himself. Specifically, though, it’s Bradley Cooper in a still from Burnt, a largely-forgotten 2015 movie directed by John Wells and written by Peaky Blinders‘ Steven Knight, in which Cooper played a volatile chef. It also starred Sienna Miller and Daniel Brühl. It didn’t make much of an impact.

So: Why? The more you think about it, the more questions this image raises. In the context of The Bear, is that a photo of actor Bradley Cooper, or does Cooper’s chef character Adam Jones exist in the Bear universe? Is it supposed to be an inside joke on the part of the fictional staff of Chef Terry’s restaurant? Or is it a gag thrown in by The Bear’s producers? Whatever the reasoning, I love it.

Bradley Cooper in 'Burnt'

Bradley Cooper in Burnt

Alex Bailey/Everett Collection

Cooper is arguably our most chef-adjacent actor aside from anyone actually on The Bear. Before Burnt he starred in Kitchen Confidential, the short-lived Fox sitcom based on Anthony Bourdain’s book, and has been known to sling Philly cheesesteaks out of a food truck. Thus, the presence of Cooper’s image is both a winking joke to those in the know and a sign that The Bear itself can have some fun even when it’s dealing with Carmy’s trauma. The only question that remains is: When is Cooper appearing on the show? And who will he be playing?

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