Professional Chef Spotlight - Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless: Mexican Culinary Ambassador

May 19th, 2011

No one has done more than Rick Bayless to enlighten the American public about the varied and intricate culinary flavors of old Mexico.

How Did Rick Bayless Get Started?

Rick's family of BBQ restaurateurs introduced him to cooking. His first trip to Mexico at 14, however, ignited his phenomenal passion for regional Mexican cuisine and effectively launched his culinary arts career. Following his graduation, he hosted Cooking Mexican on PBS, and shortly thereafter, Rick and his wife went to Mexico to study the culture and cuisine. Six years later, they returned to the U.S., where Rick published his 1987 landmark cookbook, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico.

Rick and his wife opened the casual Frontera Grill in Chicago, with authentic Mexican cooking, and two years later in 1989, they opened Topolobampo, an upscale Mexican dining experience. Chef Bayless and both of his restaurants have consistently received prestigious culinary awards throughout his career.

Why is Rick Bayless Famous?

In the culinary arts world, Rick Bayless and authentic Mexican cuisine are synonymous. On his public TV series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless, he takes his audience on culinary arts adventures to various Mexican cities, like Jalisco, Guadalajara, or Puerto Vallarta to learn about each city's culture and specialized cuisine. He then returns to his kitchen to translate the city's culinary delights into user-friendly dishes.

The 'One Plate' companion cookbook also includes Rick's contemporary spin and personal insights on each of his TV program recipes. In his spare culinary career time, Rick has coauthored five additional cookbooks and promotes his own line of Frontera Food products.

What's Next for Rick's Culinary Arts Career?

Mexico--One Plate at a Time, in its fourth season on public TV, continues to be highly popular. Rick has partnered with Marshall Fields to launch Frontera Fresca, a quick service Mexican restaurant, in their flagship store in Chicago. His Frontera Farmer Foundation promotes small, sustainable farms and he is actively involved in the nation's largest hunger advocacy organization, Share Our Strength.

Name: Richard Lane Bayless
Born: Sometime in 1953
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
Training: Undergraduate work in Spanish and Latin American culture and six years of culinary research in Mexico
First Job: Family BBQ restaurant


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