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Did You Catch These Bay Area Easter Eggs in ‘The Bear’?

A James Beard Award-winning cookbook and local chocolate company make brief appearances in the second season of the hit show

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Chocolate bag.
Tcho Chocolate makes a guest appearance in the new season of The Bear.
David Rodriguez
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Sydney, Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, and even Richie grow up a bit in Hulu’s new season of The Bear. But while the fictional restaurant is in Chicago, there are a couple of ties to the Bay Area throughout the new season. Mostly, it’s just NorCal Easter eggs sprinkled amidst the 10 episodes that dropped on June 22. It’s a season of incredible food and Wes Anderson-esque traipses through Denmark, yes, but a couple of Bay Area inroads make watching the show all the sweeter.

First and foremost, East Bay’s Tcho Chocolate plays a role at the dessert station. In episode one of season 2, at 11:09 and 11:19, cannoli wunderkind Marcus returns to his pastry corner with a bag of Tcho sitting atop his workstation. Everyone might be horny for Will Poulter’s Luca — the scene of the two cooks chatting about basketball and greatness in a Copenhagen kitchen is one of the show’s finest — but the restaurant’s hometown hero is who would’ve relied on the Bay’s chocolate for the restaurant’s treats. “It’s an incredible honor,” Josh Mohr, Tcho’s senior vice president of marketing, says. “We all started calling each other, texting each other, Slacking each other. We’re blessed to be on a show we all love.”

Back in October 2022, the company knew production on the new season was happening and sent product over to the set. The staff made sure to send chocolate bars but given the scope of the show they made sure to send a suite of baking chocolate supplies: bags upon bags of cocoa powder and couvetures. They didn’t hear anything, and the idea sort of faded away. But within 15 minutes of the first episode, Mohr says his wife and kids were pointing to the screen, spying that gold-orange bag right next to Marcus.

Customers may be most familiar with Tcho’s colorful, now plant-based bars. But the huge orange bag of baking chocolate would be instantly associated with the company for those who’ve worked back of house in the Bay as it’s impossible to miss above a kitchen sink or stacked alongside other ingredients. The company has stocked restaurants and bars for more than a decade; when the show’s new season dropped, the owner of Lexington Bakes in SoCal texted Mohr about that classic bag. “You kind of have to be in the know to know that’s Tcho chocolate,” Mohr says. “But so many bakeries and restaurants use those bags.”

As many of the company’s staff are home cooks or worked in the industry before working at Tcho, it feels all the more special to be included in the hit show. Which product it actually is, and the company’s branding, is obscured, however. It could’ve been cocoa powder or 100 percent dark chocolate couvertures — known as Hella Dark, repping the Bay even harder. The company’s tagline, however, is visible: Finish What You Started. “That feels perfect,” Mohr says. “Given their desire to get to that friends and family in this season.”

The region’s relationship to the show goes deeper. James Beard Award winner Illyanna Maisonet, who grew up in Sacramento, won the emerging voice award for her book Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook earlier this year. That very book can be spotted over Carmy’s right shoulder in the first episode at 13:33. Beyond chocolate and Bay Area cookbooks, which the show has a history of featuring, there’s an even more obscure San Francisco reference hiding throughout the show. SFGATE found the city’s very own apparel company Self Edge stocks Carmy with his white tee shirts. This isn’t too surprising given Carmy’s love of menswear, but since Self Edge sells those shirts for $95 it does feel kind of wild to wear them in the kitchen. Still, seeing a bit of Bay Area fashion in a Midwestern restaurant does a heart good, which goes without saying for chocolate and cookbooks, too.

A person. Getty Images for The James Beard