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The Future of Taste

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Rick Bayless: The Unlikely Face of Mexican Cuisine

Sarah Zorn

Born into a family of barbecue restaurateurs and experts in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Rick Bayless may have seemed an unlikely candidate to become the face of Mexican cuisine. And yet, he’s worked tirelessly to remove its longstanding stigma, as merely consisting of various permutations of tortillas, cheese, beans and meat, by opening up a string of highly acclaimed Chicago restaurants (including the James Beard Award-winning Frontera Grill, the 4-star Toplobampo, and the LEED GOLD-certified, fast-casual Xoco) serving elevated yet authentic, wholly reverential regional fare. In fact, in 2012, the Government of Mexico honored Bayless with the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle — the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people.

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Taste Talks Food & Drink hits Chicago October 3-5, 2014. See the full schedule and buy tickets here.