Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless
Did you know?

Rick’s cookbook with his 15-year old daughter, Lanie, titled Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures was nominated for a James Beard Award.


Rick Bayless
Rick's Featured Recipe
Fresh Prickly-Pear Ice

Click here for recipe

 Rick Bayless is credited with doing more to introduce Americans to authenic Mexican cuisine — and to change its image in the U.S. — than any other American chef.  He is a fourth generation restaurateur from  an Oklahoma family of restaurateurs and grocers who decided to do his doctoral work in anthropological linguistics at the University of Michigan and so ended up living in Mexico with his wife, Deann. It was there that he wrote the now-classic Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking From The Heart of Mexico that was published in 1987 and which the New York Times’s legendary Craig Claiborne called the “greatest contribution to the Mexican table imaginable.”

Rick went on to write other books:  In 1996, Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine  won the IACP Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award. and the Times praised him as a writer who makes "true Mexican food user-friendly for Americans," while Time magazine dubbed him a a "cookbook superstar." Salsas That Cook  written with Deann and JeanMarie Brownson was published in 1999 and Mexico – One Plate at a Time, the companion to the first season of the eponymous Public Television series, won a James Beard award as the Best International Cookbook. Mexico—One Plate at a Time, the television show,  is currently in its fifth season on PBS.

Rick opened  Frontera Grill in Chicago in 1987, a restaurant that  specializes in contemporary regional Mexican cooking. In 1988, Food & Wine magazine selected Rick as Best New Chef of The Year, and in 1991, he won a James Beard Award for Best American Chef: Midwest. In 1995, he won another James Beard Award for National Chef of the Year as well as an award for Chef of the Year from the IACP. In 1998, the Beard Foundation honored Rick as Humanitarian of the Year. and in 2002, Bon Appétit honored him with the Cooking Teacher of the Year Award.

On the heels of Frontera Grill's success, Rick opened Topolobampo in 1989, an elegant eatery adjacent to Frontera Grill. Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have received glowing distinctions from such publications as Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Atlantic Monthly, Condé Nast Traveler, Zagat's, The Wine Spectator, USA Today, Chicago Magazine and The Chicago Tribune. Topolobampo has been nominated twice by the James Beard Foundation as one of the most outstanding restaurants in our country. 

In 1996, Rick began a line of prepared foods under the Frontera Foods label. Frontera Foods went on to open Frontera Fresco — a food kiosk in Chicago’s historic Marshall Fields (now Macy’s) building in 2005.

Rick is a restaurant consultant and teaches authentic Mexican cooking throughout the United States. He also leads cooking and cultural tours to Mexico.

Rick lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.  He is the founder of the Frontera Farmer Foundation, an organization that supports small local farmers, and has been active in Share Our Strength.  His website is


Latest Recipes

Chile de Arbol (Hot Sauce)

This homemade hot sauce recipe shows you how to make hot sauce with dried peppers. Recipe by Rick Bayless.

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Chicken-Filled Enchiladas with Tangy Tomatillo Sauce

Here is a recipe for the classic Mexican enchiladas, the ones that combine a flavor that is traditionally tart and piquant with the mealy meatiness of corn tortillas, the tenderness of chicken and a sharp, salty adornment of aged Mexican cheese. Theyre rolled up and sauced in cafeteras (especially the new, bright chain restaurants) everywhereand with above-average fervor in the heartland sections of Central and West-Central Mexico. Theyre simple to make, easy to enjoy and attractively filling.

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Fresh Prickly-Pear Ice

Ive written the main fruit-ice recipe using prickly pears simply because preparing the fruit requires a little more explanation. Ices made of more common fruit follow the same general procedure, as detailed in the variations. Prickly pear ice is delicious with the nontraditional addition of 1 tablespoons Cointreau.

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Mexican Rice Pudding

This dessert is softer and more cinnamony than our baked rice pudding. The flavors are simple and close to home, but its easy to develop a thoroughgoing love for it, spoonful after spoonful. Mexican people everywhere serve it as regularly as they do flan its creamy and, in its own way, light and soothing. This is an especially pretty and tasty recipe, based on one from Zelayarans Las 500 mejores recetas de la cocina mexicana.

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Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce

This green tomatillo version of the table salsa mexicana seems even more commonplace in Mexicos snack parlors and street stalls than the red tomato onepartly, I suspect, because the cooked tomatillos make it more a sauce than a relish, and because it has a tasty puckeriness that deliciously heightens the flavor of whatever it goes on. The sauce is frequently within easy reach in cafeterias, too, paired with a hot red-chile sauce or salsa picante. They all get sprinkled on or stirred in, like the salt and pepper on our tables. This fresh green tomatillo sauce is a particular favorite in Central Mexico.

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Red-Chile Sauce with Roasted Tomato

If the flavors of this picante red-chile sauce are well blended, the heat will have been rounded out with a little softening tomato flavo...

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Quick-Cooked Tomatillo-Chile Sauce

This everyday Mexican salsa verde is green from a delicious native berry (tomatillo) that frequently bears the name of its very distant r...

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Relishy Cactus-Paddle Salad

In spite of its being called a salad, this cactus-paddle preparation is actually used more like a condiment—like a coarse salsa mexicana ...

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Homemade Thick Cream

It isn’t uncommon to see three or four buckets of cream in Central, West-Central and Tabascan markets: from thin, sweet and fresh to well...

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Spicy Jicama Salad with Tangerines and Fresh Coriander

Jicama—the large, bulbous, woody-looking root vegetable—has something of a raw potato texture and a slightly sweet apple taste. And when ...

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Shrimp-Ball Soup with Roasted Pepper and Tomato

The simple Mexican flavors of this west-coast specialty are clean and invitingly uncomplicated. The soup is substantial—just the kind of ...

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Fish Broth

One of the most important ingredients in a really good fish soup or sauce is a well-made fish broth. This version that I’ve developed is ...

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Slivered Beef with Well-Browned Onions

Portable, butane-fired griddles show up at dusk in parks and on street corners through most of the country, penetrating the outdoor odors...

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Fruit and Milk Smoothy

Mariano Dueñas’ small pamphlet on the modern variety of Mexican refreshment praises the “delicious and nutritive licuado” as the salvatio...

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