Award winning author of nine cookbooks, creator of a multiple Daytime Emmy award nominated TV Show and recipient of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people, Rick Bayless is revered for his creativity and contribution to Mexican cuisine in the US. His highly rated Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time, is broadcast coast to coast and is now in it's 11th season.
Before opening his own restaurants, Bayless began his professional career in 1980 as the executive chef at Lopez y Gonzalez, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In 1987 Bayless and his wife Deann opened Frontera Grill in Chicago, Illinois, specializing in contemporary regional Mexican cuisine, with special emphasis on the varied cuisines of the Oaxaca region. In 1989 Rick and Deann opened Topolobampo, one of Chicago's first fine-dining Mexican restaurants, which has since earned 1 Michelin star and won Outstanding Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation 2017. Rick currently owns 10 restaurants in the US which specialise in authentic, regional Mexican cuisine.
In 1995, Rick and partners started the Frontera Foods line of prepared food products, including a line of salsas, cooking sauces and organic chips can be found coast to coast.
Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. Each year, grants are awarded to farmers for capital improvements to their family farms, encouraging greater production and profitability. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling nearly $2 million. In 2007, Bayless and his team launched the Frontera Scholarship, a full tuition scholarship that sends a Mexican-American Chicago Public School student to Kendall College to study culinary arts.
In 2016, he earned the Julia Child Foundation Award, a prestigious honor given to “an individual who has made a profound and significant impact on the way America cooks, eats and drinks.”
We have been honoured to host some of the following guest chefs at Ballymaloe Cookery School over the years.