Rick Bayless
Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurants: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO River North, XOCO Wicker Park (Chicago); Tortas Frontera, Frontera Fresco (Multiple Locations) Who taught you how to cook? What is the most important thing you learned from him or her? My grandmother was a huge influence. I loved her and she taught me to bring more than just good food to the table. She taught me that being a great cook also meant bringing love and family together. Food-wise, I always loved her peach pie. What's a dish that defines your cooking style? I believe that a cuisine is always alive and growing, so I don’t think I can answer with a specific dish. I am rooted in authentic Mexican cuisine, but certainly with a twist. The great part is that I didn’t grow up with a Mexican grandmother, so I don’t have to be true to traditional recipes. What was the first dish you ever cooked yourself? And what is the best dish for a neophyte cook to try? I cooked my way through every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and loved it. For a newbie, I’d say go to my special guac recipes. The keys to doing it right are having ripe avocados, rinsing your white onions and keeping it chunky. It should not be too smooth. Finally, make sure to really keep it cold before you serve it for a party. Who is your food mentor? What is the most important thing you learned from him/her? I grew up idolizing Julia Child. I read everything about her, and when I met her I was star-struck. I learned one of the greatest things from her that I try to pass along to my staff: do your research and have fun. What's the most important skill you need to be a great cook? A sense of balance, and the ability to know when something is too sweet, too salty or too bitter. Good knife skills don’t hurt, either. Is there a culinary skill or type of dish that you wish you were better at? Not really. I try lots of stuff. I’m okay with not being great at everything; that’s why I have a great staff. What is the best bang-for-the-buck ingredient and how would you use it? Canned chipotle peppers, any brand will do. Throw the chopped chipotles into a salsa and use the canning liquid as a marinade. What is your current food obsession? Right now I’m all about vegetables: radishes, eggplants, tomatoes—you name it. I’m a big farmers’ market shopper and I’m so inspired by what I find there. What do you consider your other talent(s) besides cooking? Before I was a chef, I was a writer, and I still write a lot today: books and articles, and you should see some of the emails I send to my staff. I’ve also been known to do a little acting and dancing. If you were going to take Thomas Keller out to eat, where would it be? It’s not a restaurant, but I’d take Keller to El Popocatepetl Tortilleria, the masa factory that supplies the masa to my restaurants in Chicago. I think he’d appreciate their attention to detail. What do you eat straight out of the fridge, standing up? What is your favorite snack? I love doughnuts. My favorites are from the Doughnut Plant in New York City. 20. Five people to follow on Twitter and Instagram. 1. Scott Simon of NPR (Twitter: @nprscottsimon) 2. Dorie Greenspan (Twitter and Instagram) 3. Bang Bang Pie (Instagram: @bangbangpie) 4. Alexander Lobrano (Twitter: @aleclobrano) 5. Martha Stewart Living’s Instagram (@ms_living) Do you have any food superstitions or pre- or post- shift rituals? My ritual is my daily yoga practice. I am constantly posting my poses on my Twitter feed.
Crispy Fish Tacos
Rating: Unrated
2
Rick Bayless updates this classic fish taco recipe by adding garlic and oregano to the beer batter for an extra punch of flavor. Serve on steamy corn tortillas with a dollop of crema and a splash of lime for a crispy, satisfying summer meal.
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Salsa Macha
Rating: Unrated
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This spicy, peanut- and chile-based salsa can be drizzled over all sorts of dishes for an added kick and crunch. Rick Bayless likes it over fish tacos to add a roasted, nutty flavor. Make extra; it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
“Kuri squash has a unique, concentrated sweet flavor that’s beautiful in soup,” says Rick Bayless, chef at Frontera Grill in Chicago. (Butternut is a fine substitute.) He adds more layers of flavor with apple, cinnamon and raisiny ancho chile, and even blends in the squash seeds for nuttiness. Slideshow:  More Warming Soup RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners
We fell hard for chef Rick Bayless's salpimentado (salt-and-pepper) ceviche from the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. From his menu at Chicago's Frontera Grill, it has an unmatched clarity of flavor because the short marinating time preserves the tuna's fresh taste.
The perfect balance on Rick Bayless' plate is these hot and tangy ribs, a green salad and a spoonful of Mexican beans. Bayless loves meaty country ribs—which are not really ribs, but chops from the loin; you can use spareribs or baby back ribs if you prefer.Plus: More Pork Recipes and Tips
This light main course also works nicely as a starter. If you're using a dried chipotle, soften it in hot water before seeding and slicing it.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips
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You can think of this salsa as a not-too-smooth, fresh version of your typical rusty-orange hot sauce—fresh chiles replace dried ones, fresh lime juice replaces vinegar. The roastiness of the fresh chiles adds sweet richness, plus a powerhouse of heat should you choose a chile like cayenne or habanero. The not-too-hot jalapeño is a good chile to start with, as you're getting to know this approach to salsa; its natural, juicy sweetness makes a salsa that's well rounded and utterly delicious—a favorite of market stall cooks in Guadalajara. In its pure simplicity (no additions, no riffs), this salsa is one of Rick Bayless's favorites, too. More Great Salsa Recipes
Pork Tinga
Rating: Unrated
5539
Chef Rick Bayless’s pork stew is smoky and delicious, especially when topped with avocado, cheese and onion.More Pork Soups and Stews Recipes
This light main course also works nicely as a starter. If you're using a dried chipotle, soften it in hot water before seeding and slicing it.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips
You can think of this salsa as a not-too-smooth, fresh version of your typical rusty-orange hot sauce—fresh chiles replace dried ones, fresh lime juice replaces vinegar. The roastiness of the fresh chiles adds sweet richness, plus a powerhouse of heat should you choose a chile like cayenne or habanero. The not-too-hot jalapeño is a good chile to start with, as you're getting to know this approach to salsa; its natural, juicy sweetness makes a salsa that's well rounded and utterly delicious—a favorite of market stall cooks in Guadalajara. In its pure simplicity (no additions, no riffs), this salsa is one of Rick Bayless's favorites, too. More Great Salsa Recipes
Pork Tinga
Rating: Unrated
5539
Chef Rick Bayless’s pork stew is smoky and delicious, especially when topped with avocado, cheese and onion.More Pork Soups and Stews Recipes
Chef Rick Bayless roasts garlic in oil, then spikes it with chipotle and lime so the sauce is tangy, spicy, and smoky—terrific on sautéed shrimp.
Tortas are like Mexican hoagies. In this easy recipe, Rick Bayless spices black beans with crumbly Mexican chorizo, then spreads the mixture on soft Mexican bolillo rolls. Kaiser rolls also work well.
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Guacamole
Rating: Unrated
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This traditional appetizer and condiment for fiesta-goers in Mexico is the starting point for most North Americans' exploration of Mexican cooking. The avocados must be ripe, yielding easily to a squeeze; if they're too firm, you can always let them ripen in a paper bag on the counter for a few days.Rick Bayless accompanies this radish-garnished version with tortilla chips or sliced jicama and cucumber, but he doubts anyone needs more ideas about how to serve gaucamole. Cocktail Party Recipes
Classic Ceviche
Rating: Unrated
14
This ceviche recipe, a classic no-cook summer appetizer, works with any fresh fish fillet with mild flavor, like halibut or snapper. Be sure to pick up plenty of limes to squeeze—you’ll need 1 1/2 cups to marinate the fish. Afterwards, toss the “cooked” fish with plenty of tomatoes, onion, green chiles, olives, cilantro, and avocado for layers of freshness and flavor.Related: More Amazing Seafood Recipes
Chipotle Chilaquiles
Rating: Unrated
1
Chilaquiles is a basic Mexican dish created to use up leftovers like tortillas, chiles, shredded chicken and cheese. Rick Bayless keeps the recipe simple by doctoring canned tomatoes with canned chipotles in adobo, available at Latin grocers and many supermarkets. Plus:  More Mexican Recipes 
Carne Asada with Black Beans
Rating: Unrated
New!
Chef Way At Frontera Grill in Chicago, Rick Bayless serves this classic dish that combines grilled marinated steak, fried plantains, homemade black beans and fresh guacamole.Easy Way Trim the dish back to a simple duo of spice-marinated rib eye steaks and canned black beans served with avocado. More Steak Recipes
Chef Rick Bayless is renowned for cookbooks featuring elaborate Mexican recipes. With Mexican Everyday, he's finally published a cookbook for fast weeknight cooking. This simple, 20-minute dip of melted cheese flavored with tomatoes, chiles, onion and a hit of tequila is just the thing to satisfy a sudden craving for something warm, salty and gooey. More Great Mexican Recipes