Sweetbitter on Starz, is a wonderful new series where the lives of the characters are as varied and fascinating as the food in the gourmet restaurant they work in. Sweetbitter is also about the sensual awaking of Tess (Ella Purnell), a naive 23 year old who has moved alone to New York to experience who she really is. We mean sensual not in the sexual sense, but in the sense of truly feeling all the possibilities that life has to offer.
Howard (Paul Sparks) is the owner of the restaurant and the kind of boss that everyone wishes they could have. For Howard, it is not enough for the restaurant to be profitable. Howard is a teacher and mentor to all the employees, and wants them to understand the beauty, history and uniqueness of all the food and wine they serve. Patrons are not “customers”, they are “guests”. Of course, no one runs a successful gourmet restaurant without being tough as nails under a smooth exterior. Any worker who talks back to Howard or disrespects a guest will quickly come to regret that mistake.
Catlin Fitzgerald is Simone,who understands everything about wine, food and people. Simone carries herself with an almost Zen-like calmness. The mystery is why with all those talents is she nothing more than a server in a restaurant? However, for some reason, while Simone has a perfect taste for food and wine the same cannot be said for the men in her life.
Sweetbitter is based on the novel by Stephanie Danler, who is also the writer of the T.V. series. Sweetbitter comes from Stephanie Danler’s own experiences. She wrote Sweetbitter while she was a waitress at New York’s Union Square Cafe while getting her MFA degree at The New School. Stephanie Danler insists that Tess in Sweetbitter is not supposed to be her. One the other hand, Stephanie Danler does have a remarkable physical resemblance to Catlin Fitzgerald who plays Simone. We wonder if that casting is really just coincidence?
Sweetbitter is a wonderful series that captures that special time of life where everything is new and exciting, but at the same time frighting.