Rick Bayless was born in 1953, into an Oklahoma City family of restaurateurs specializing in the local barbecue. Having begun his culinary training as a youngster, Rick broadened his horizons to include regional Mexican cooking as an undergraduate student of Spanish and Latin American culture.
Rick and his wife Deann dedicated more than 6 years to culinary research in Mexico, culminating in 1987 with the publication of their now-classic cookbook "Authentic Mexican" (Morrow). They also opened the colorful, vivacious Frontera Grill in Chicago, specializing in regional Mexican cooking, that same year to instant success.
Their elegant Topolobampo, one of America's only fine-dining Mexican restaurants, opened in 1989. Both restaurants have received multiple awards and distinctions, including the coveted Ivy Award. In 2007, Frontera Grill was named Best Restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation. Rick has also won our country's highest chef honors as the James Beard Foundation's National Chef of the Year.
In 1996 Rick and partners launched Frontera Foods, makers of authentic Mexican salsas and food products, to help make high-quality, regional Mexican food available to all. The salsas and food products are all-natural, preservative-free and made in small batches using the same time-honored methods found in Mexico.
Rick won the Best Cookbook of the Year at the 1996 IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Awards for "Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen" (Scribner). In 1999, he released "Salsas That Cook" (Scribner).
In the summer of 2000, Rick released his new 26-part public television series, "Mexico: One Plate at a Time," along with the companion cookbook of the same name (Scribner). This fall Rick is busy filming the seventh series of the show in Mexico and in his Chicago home kitchen and gardens.
Rick is on the executive board of Chefs Collaborative 2000, in support of environmentally sound agricultural practices. He is the founder of the Frontera Farmer Foundation, an organization that supports small local farmers and has been active in Share Our Strength, the nation's largest hunger advocacy organization. Rick is a restaurant consultant, teaches authentic Mexican cooking throughout the United States (he is a visiting staff member at the Culinary Institute of America), and leads cooking and cultural tours to Mexico.