Chef Rick Bayless giving a cooking demonstration at Macy's in downtown San Francisco in January 2008.
November 23, 1953 |
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
|Cooking style||Mexican cuisine|
|Education||University of Oklahoma (B.A.)
University of Michigan (Ph.D, Anthropological Linguistics)
Rick Bayless (born November 23, 1953) is an American chef who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations. He is perhaps best known for his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time.
Bayless is the younger brother of sports journalist and television personality Skip Bayless.
Early life and education 
Bayless was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, into a family of restaurateurs and grocers specializing in the local barbecue. Having begun his culinary training as a youth, he broadened his interests to include regional Mexican cooking as an undergraduate student of Spanish and Latin American culture. After finishing his undergraduate education at the University of Oklahoma, he did doctoral work in Anthropological Linguistics at the University of Michigan and, from 1980 to 1986, lived in Mexico with his wife, Deann, writing his first book Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking From The Heart of Mexico.
Professional Career 
After hosting the 26-part PBS television series Cooking Mexican in 1978-1979, Bayless dedicated over six years to culinary research in Mexico, culminating in 1987 with the publication of his Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, which Craig Claiborne described as "the greatest contribution to the Mexican table imaginable." Chef Bayless continues to host his PBS television series, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, now entering Season 8, produced entirely on the Baja peninsula.
Before opening his own restaurant, Rick began his professional career in 1980 as the executive chef at Lopez, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Rick trained a staff of 10, and established the tradition of Lopez, which still remains the premier Mexican/Southwestern restaurant in Ohio. In 1987, Bayless, along with his wife, Deann, opened the Frontera Grill in Chicago, Illinois, specializing in contemporary regional Mexican cuisine. In 1989 they opened Topolobampo, one of America's first fine-dining Mexican restaurants.
In 1995, he and partners started the successful Frontera Foods line of prepared food products.
He was one of the founding members of Chefs Collaborative, in support of environmentally sound agricultural practices and is active in Share Our Strength, the nation's largest hunger advocacy organization.
Bayless is a restaurant consultant and teaches authentic Mexican cooking throughout the United States. He is a visiting staff member at the Culinary Institute of America and leads cooking and cultural tours to Mexico.
Bayless has written several cookbooks on the subject of traditional Mexican fare, including the best-selling Mexico: One Plate at a Time. He has also contributed to a number of magazines.
Bayless and his staff also began the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003. This foundation was set up to support Chicago-area local farmers by offering capital improvement grants. As of 2007[update], more than $400,000 has been given to local family farms.
In December 2007, Bayless opened Frontera Fresco restaurant in San Francisco.
Bayless appeared as a guest judge in episode 3 of Season 4's Top Chef, judging both the quickfire and elimination challenges. He later went on to become a contestant in episode 3 of the first season of Top Chef Masters, winning that episode and advancing to the Champion's round. In the championship round he won the title of Top Chef Master on August 19, 2009.
He is the brother of ESPN personality and sports journalist Skip Bayless. In 2008, he was widely considered to be a serious contender for the position of White House Executive Chef under the administration of Barack Obama.
In 2010, after having spent significant time at local Mexican dining spots, Bayless made his LA debut running the kitchen at the Red O.
In 2012, Bayless ventured into the world of theatre, partnering with Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago to put on the play, "Rick Bayless in Cascabel", which Bayless created along with Tony Hernandez and Heidi Stillman. The show opened on March 21, 2012 to favorable reviews and ran through April 29.
Also in 2012, Rick Bayless secured his first ever Day Time Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host for his work on Season 8 of Mexico: One Plate at a Time.
Current Restaurants 
- Frontera Grill (Chicago, IL)
- Topolobampo (Chicago, IL)
- XOCO (Chicago, IL)
- Frontera Fresco (Chicago, IL; Skokie, IL; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; San Francisco, CA)
- Tortas Frontera (O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL)
- Red O (Los Angeles, CA)
Awards and Accolades 
- Best New Chef of 1988, Food and Wine magazine
- Best American Chef: Midwest 1991, James Beard Foundation
- National Chef of the Year 1995, James Beard Foundation
- Chef of the Year 1995, International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)
- Cookbook of the Year, 1996, IACP, for Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
- Cookbook of the Year, 1996, National Julia Child Cookbook Awards, for Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
- Cookbook of the Year, 1996, Chicago Tribune, for Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
- Humanitarian of the year 1998, James Beard Foundation
- Cookbook of the Year in 2001, James Beard Foundation, for Mexico: One Plate at a Time
- Best Chef Midwest (CHICAGO) of 2002, James Beard Foundation
- Who's Who of American Food and Drink
- Humanitarian of the Year IACP 2007
- Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation 2007
- Winner, Top Chef Masters Season 1 on Bravo Cable Network, September 2009
- Recipient, 2011 Golden Beet Award from The Illinois Stewardship Alliance, in the category "Community Food Projects," for his work with the Frontera Farmer Foundation and for his support of local and sustainable agriculture.
- Frontera Grill was ranked the third-best casual dining restaurant in the world by the International Herald Tribune
- 2012 Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
- Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico (1987)
- Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine (1996)
- Salsas That Cook : Using Classic Salsas To Enliven Our Favorite Dishes (1998)
- Mexico: One Plate at a Time (book) (2000)
- Mexico: One Plate at a Time (television series) (2003–present)
- Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures (2004)
- Mexican Everyday (2005)
- Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends (2010)
- Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks (2012)
- "''Rick Bayless: winning awards, accolades and appetites - Interview'' by Carolyn Walkup". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Rick Bayless biography - Frontera website
- "About Frontera Farmer Foundation: Frontera Farmer Foundation - Rick Bayless | Frontera". Rick Bayless. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "Frontera Fresco". Frontera Fresco. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Piazza, Jo, "Chef Executive: Three cooks in the running for Obama's top White House kitchen post", New York Daily News, Sunday, November 9, 2008
- Odell, Kat (January 5, 2010). "Confirmed: Rick Bayless Coming to LA! Heading Kitchen At Both Forthcoming Red Onions". Eater.com.
- "Rick Bayless brings Mexico to the White House kitchen, by way of Chicago" (Christian Science Monitor, May 19, 2010)
- State dinner chef tweets about 'day of creation' (AP, May 19, 2010)[dead link]
- "Rick Bayless' recipe for state dinner black mole" (AP, May 19, 2010)
- "Rick Bayless in Cascabel | Lookingglass Theatre Company". Lookingglasstheatre.org. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "Lookingglass Theatre Extends CASCABEL Through April 29". Broadway World. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "Golden Beet Award winners announced" (Chicago Tribune, April 14, 2011)
- Wells, Patricia (1994-01-17). "The Top Ten". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2012-04-03.