We’ve been Rick Bayless fans for years, including in 2000,when we profiled him alongside other celebrity chefs.
CHEF. ADVOCATE. MENTOR. INNOVATOR.
It’s one thing for a chef’s devotion to Mexican cuisine to be highly respected in Chicago; it’s another entirely for Mexico itself to concur. But the country’s decision to bestow upon Rick Bayless its highest honor for a noncitizen— the Order of the Aztec Eagle—is the celebrated chef’s proudest achievement. “I love Mexico and its culture, and it really needs to be put on the pedestal it deserves,” says Bayless. From the 32-year-old stalwart Frontera Grill to his multiple James Beard awards, Bayless has cemented his legacy as a top restaurateur, but his work reverberates beyond that. Bayless hosts the popular show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, has awarded nearly $3 million in grants and scholarships, and, this year, launched Impact Culinary Training for young Chicagoans. “Chicagoans are second to none for big-city hospitality,” Bayless says. “And I want to leave this community better than when I came into it.” –AC