I cook like a bear this is what I learned

In the first episode of Bears Season 1, Cami wakes up at the crack of dawn to prepare, cook and serve mouth-watering beef sandwiches to dozens of hungry customers while at his late brother's Italian Beef Shop Lee worked frantically with the reluctant kitchen staff. Chicago. Very loud sound. It's sweating. Very confusing. There was the sound of pots and pans clattering. And swearing. (A lot.) Apparently, the bears' high energy and delicious food make viewers anxious and hungry, and with the second season now streaming on Hulu, those emotions need to be satisfied.

Like a lot of people, I was hooked on Bears as soon as its first season ended last year. While I consider myself a casual watcher of food shows and a decent cook, I've wondered what it would be like to cook meals, even romantic meals, created on TV shows. While I've worked as a waitress in the past and know what a pizza joint will look like on a Friday night during Lent, I was curious about the pace at which the kitchen puts together The Bear 's menu. Is it really that intense when there's more meat at stake? Is making different types of food in such a small space really as impossible as it seems?

So, I signed up for a class in New York called “The Bear - A Day at The Beef of Chicagoland” by the Institute of Culinary Education. As it turns out, the show's stars, Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri, took classes at ICE's Los Angeles campus, where their two-week crash course included knife skills and other cooking fundamentals knowledge, and learn to cook in a professional kitchen.

In solidarity—and perhaps with a tinge of obsession—I also cooked food cooked by the Bear characters. From The Beef's Italian Beef Sandwich and Carmy's Chicken Piccata to Mikey's Family Meal Pomodoro Spaghetti and Marcus' Chocolate Cake, Chef Roger Sitrin led 12 of us in preparing, cooking and serving them all in less than four hours Season 1 Food.

Chef Roger Makes Beef Sandwich Culinary Education Institute

Like the kitchen crew in "The Bear ," I still have a lot to learn about the art of cooking. Ahead, eight valuable lessons I learned from the class, including tips for making perfect pasta.

1. I’ve been cutting the wrong herbs all this time

Kami Chicken Piccata from The Bear. Marina Watts/ Institute of Culinary Education

If Kami has shown us anything, it's that a sophisticated garnish can complete any dish. I used to roughly chop herbs by twirling my knife over a bunch of herbs to get them smaller faster. However, Chef Sitrin demonstrates an easier way to chop them up when making Carmy's Chicken Piccata that will bring my basil and parsley game to Michelin star level. He just rolls them into a tight ball, holds them in place with his thumb (carefully!), and slices them into thin slices. The extra few seconds of effort are worth it. Also, make sure to sharpen your knife regularly.

2. There’s a perfect way to cook pasta

Author's note: I was too excited to eat the pasta, and by the time I remembered to take a photo, it was too late. This is the prepared ingredients ). Marina Watts/ Institute of Culinary Education

As Rich yells to Cami on the show, "Just keep it simple and make spaghetti!" when talking about the restaurant's best-selling dish. Cami recreated the spaghetti, but everyone disagreed with his method because he improved the otherwise simple recipe with some butter and halved onions. Well, there's actually a way to make it easy. The ratio for cooking perfect pasta is: 10 g salt, 100 g pasta and 1 liter of water. The golden rule is to make sure the pasta doesn't stick together, there's enough salt in the water, and there's enough salt to enhance the flavor of the pasta. I've written it down on a note card hanging on the refrigerator.

3. Crush tomatoes with your hands has strange healing properties

When making pasta sauce, the recipe calls for crushing the San Marzano tomatoes by hand. As a result, the sauce has a smoother texture. Crushing them with my hands was surprisingly peaceful, and for a moment I forgot I was in a busy kitchen during the dinner rush. I can confirm that baby tomatoes do taste better, even though the cans aren't stuffed with tomato-soaked cash. Michael's tomato-based pasta wasn't an "under-seasoned, over-seasoned mess," as Cami described it on the show.

4. (Garlic) size matters

Jeremy Allen White in "The Bear."

If there's one thing you can believe about the Bear family's chaotic Christmas Eve dinner episode in Season 2, it's that the smell of garlic was probably wafting through Cami's mom's house. Whether you're making a Seven Fishes dinner or just chicken piccata, garlic must be present but added correctly. This means avoiding using a press just for the sake of simplicity and minimizing it even further. The more you cut it, the more flavor it has. Using a press also runs the risk of overpowering dishes that may not need as much garlic. (We dice it for the chicken piccata for a stronger flavor, and we slice it thinly for the pasta sauce garlic to highlight the right aromatic undertones.)

5. The perfect Italian beef can’t be rushed

The Beef's Italian beef sandwich comes from The Bear. Marina Watts/ Institute of Culinary Education

Ah yes, the famous Chicago beef. It's a lot more involved than simply roasting some beef and cutting it into strips. You may instinctively want to cook it hot and fast so it's done faster. At The Bear , Kami takes the signature dish up a notch and the meat is braised instead of the roast we make.

We try not to overcook the beef, especially when it's braised in a cast iron Dutch oven at 350 degrees. We have to keep checking it and be careful not to overcook it or take it out too early. The recipe called for 15-20 minutes in the oven, but it felt like the time between putting the beef in and taking it out for a temperature check was much longer. This part feels particularly real - on the show, Cami cooks the meat for an extra two hours in the morning. Patience is key, this is a lot harder than I thought.

6. ...however, baking a cake takes longer than cooking beef

Marcus' Frosted Chocolate Cake by Marina Watts

I like cooking. I don't like baking. This part of the course gave me a deeper appreciation for Marcus, The Bear ’s passionate pastry chef who brings a sense of balance to an otherwise raucous Chicago beef. The meticulous nature of baking requires a lot of patience, and I applaud Marcus for that.

Even though everything was accurately measured, this was still the most time-consuming part of the class. There are a lot of steps: mix the batter, measure it into the pan, bake it, check it, and let it come to room temperature. After cooling, we must put it in the refrigerator to cool further, then assemble and frost it with a spatula, and finally put the cake in the refrigerator.

In the chaos of prepping three other dishes at the same time, I also forgot to set the timer for the cake. Fortunately, someone did and we averted disaster.

7. I’ve been cutting the wrong cake all this time

Marcus Chocolate Cake from "The Bear." Marina Watts/ Institute of Culinary Education

You know how precious knives are to the chefs at The Bear , and of course, they're also the secret to perfect cakes. Always use a proper chef's knife for clean slices, not a butter knife. Otherwise, it might crash and your Instagram Stories won't look as pretty. I probably learned this the hard way.

8. There can be too many cooks in the kitchen

People of varying skill sets were busy gathering ingredients, preparing, cooking and plating, while sharing stoves and ovens: a lot of people. Even though this kitchen is bigger and better equipped, it's also a little disorienting to cook in a kitchen that's not my own. The situation with everyone moving around at the same time is similar to much of Bears' first season, especially episode seven. By the end of the night, we sat down to a family dinner—a little less rowdy than Cami's Christmas Eve party in season two.

After this experience, I have a greater appreciation for the passion, effort, and attention to detail that goes into preparing a meal. The pace felt faster than I'm used to, and by the end my feet hurt and my apron was covered in icing and red sauce, but the reward was worth it—and I'm still thinking about the Italian beef sandwich.