Rick Bayless - Chef, Restaurateur, Entrepreneur, Writer, Humanitarian
With his new cookbook "Mexican Everyday" out in stores, Rick Bayless takes a moment to discuss his latest title, tells us what's cooking at his restaurants, shares a recipe and touches on his life outside of the kitchen.
On Mexican Everyday...
Other than offering some great recipes, what seperates Mexican Everyday from other "south of the border" cookbooks?
Well this is definitely Authentic Mexican food, but we have a joke around here about Mexican Everyday-that I finally learned how to write easy recipes…it's taken me 25 years to write this book! Flavorful, nutritionally balanced, easy to find ingredients. That is what is really different.
After penning five previous cookbooks, did you find it challenging to produce a sixth vibrant, interesting book?
No, not really, because this is so different. I am happy that this book is so accessible, I want to be able to reach a lot of people with this book, not just people who are highly experienced in the kitchen.
Will you be showcasing the recipes from the book on PBS?
Yes there are many in the book that we use on Season 4. The recipes that you see on the show that aren't in the book I have listed on the website www.fronterakitchens.com
Do you have any plans for additional restaurants?
No-but we are really happy with the new Frontera Fresco in the Marshall Fields building. It is great food and I think it was a great addition to the 7th floor.
What about your all-natural product line "Frontera Foods", will you be expanding the range?
Always! You know in the prepared food world, the question is always, "What's Next??"
Where can readers purchase your product range?
On line at www.fronterakitchens.com , or at any grocery store…In Chicago you will find us at Whole Foods, Jewel, etc.
On The Social Scene
You have a great reputation for leading social causes. Do you have any new projects in the works?
Near and dear to all of our hearts here at Frontera is our Frontera Farmer Foundation. Now in its third year, we are extremely proud of what the Foundation has been able to offer to our local farmers. Each year we do a huge fundraiser (next one is Sunday, June 11th) to raise money for our Foundation-with the dollars raised we are able to provide our local farmers with capital improvement grants. Grants that gone to building more hoop houses for longer growing seasons, shipping docks for farmers to ship their product. It is really exciting. We have given out over $80,000 to date.
You were part of the driving force behind Chicago's Green City Market. How has the market flourished over the past seven years?
Have you been? It is really fantastic. The energy, the life there at the market is truly a Chicago treasure. More product, more farmers, and more importantly, more people learning about where their food comes from. I encourage anyone to go and meet a farmer, buy their produce. I guarantee the dish you make that night will taste better!
I had read that you take your team on a yearly trip to Mexico with such a busy schedule are you still able to do it?
We close every year over the 4th of July. About 35 of us go to a different region in Mexico each year…when we return, we feature all that we have learned on the next Frontera or Topolobampo menu. It is a great way for our staff to interact on another level.
Outside of the kitchen
What book do you have on your bedside table?
I have been friends with Dr. Andrew Weil for some time and just ran into him in Dallas on book tour-so I have his new one: Healthy Aging. I just turned 52, so I guess it's time to read it.
What is your favorite cookbook?
This is too hard. Maybe something by Julia, she really was my hero as a kid.
Are you a tea or coffee person?
I like both. You will see in my introduction of Mexican Everyday, I started thinking about what I was eating and drinking…coffee & tea are full of different flavors, I took an interest to learn about the differences.
Where is your favorite place to eat?
Are you kidding? Probably home with my family, something simple on the table.
What would be the last meal you had on earth?
Something in a tortilla...
Mexican Everyday is available at all good book stores and directly thru Rick's website: www.fronterakitchens.com (336 pages. Color photographs throughout. OUR PRICE: $29.95)
Written By: Jeremy Emmerson