Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, besting the competition with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated public television series, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, is broadcast coast to coast and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades.
Located in Chicago, Rick’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant” designation from the James Beard Foundation – an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants. His wildly popular fast-casual Xoco has been around since 2009 and Tortas Frontera at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has changed the face of airport dining.
In 2016, he opened two new critically acclaimed restaurants in Chicago’s bustling West Loop neighborhood – the Baja-inspired, wood-fired Leña Brava and the adjacent Cervecería Cruz Blanca, a craft brewery and taquería. Also in 2016, he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. In 2018, Rick opened Bar Sotano, a Oaxacan inspired mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food.
Always a philanthropist, Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling more than $2 million. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship, a culinary school scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago.
The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle – the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people.