One of the most pleasant surprises among last year's crop of new series was FX's The Bear, which centers on an award-winning young chef, played by Critics’ Choice Award-winner Jeremy Allen White, who returns to his hometown of Chicago to revamp his family’s crumbling sandwich shop. Among the boisterous gallery of characters that help keep the restaurant running is Tina, played by Liza Colón-Zayas, a line cook with no filter who she describes as part "mama bear" and part "general."
During our conversation the veteran actress of stage and screen looks back at her varied career, reveals what she is looking forward to in season two of The Bear, and makes a call to action for restaurant and hospitality workers to earn the salaries and benefits they deserve.
"I stand in awe of chefs and restaurant and hospitality workers," Colón-Zayas says. "I dig the adrenaline of acting, but I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how these chefs dig the rush and the pressure.
"I'd be having a meltdown," she adds with a laugh. "They all deserve so much more respect, money, benefits, all the things that they are sacrificing their personal lives for. I’m so grateful that The Bear is shining a light on that."
Season two of The Bear is streaming now on Hulu.
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