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Introducing The Daily Meal Council: Rick Bayless

Introducing The Daily Meal Council: Rick Bayless


Born in Oklahoma City into a family of restaurateurs and grocers, Rick Bayless studied Spanish and Latin American culture at the University of Oklahoma and anthropological linguistics at the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Deann, lived in Mexico from 1980 to 1986, out of which experience Bayless wrote his first book, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico. After working as executive chef at Lopez, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, considered that state's best Mexican/Southwestern restaurant, Bayless opened Frontera Grill in Chicago in 1987, adding the more upscale Topolobampo next door in 1989. In 2003, Bayless and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation to support small Midwestern farms. Subsequently, the team launched the Frontera Scholarship, to send a Chicago Mexican-American high school student to Kendall College to study culinary arts. Bayless is the author of eight cookbooks, and the winner of numerous James Beard Awards, including ones for Best Chef: Midwest, America's Outstanding Chef, and Humanitarian of the Year. Bayless's PBS television series Mexico: One Plate at a Time is now in its ninth season — and last year, Bayless and two collaborators wrote and produced, and Bayless starred in, the well-reviewed Cascabel: Dinner — Daring — Desire, the story of a meal song, dance, and physical feats., at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre (the production will return in 2014).

The Daily Meal: What's your earliest food memory?
Rick Bayless:
Probably the smell of hickory smoke in my father's work shirts. I grew up in a barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma City and my father smelled as delicious as everything we served at the restaurant

When did you first decide that you wanted to be a chef, and why?
I cooked at my parents' restaurant from the time I was about 7. I cooked at home. I cooked at my grandmother's. I cooked Julia Child recipes the first year she was on television in the '60s and I watched on a little black-and-white set. But I knew I didn't want to inherit my parents’ restaurant, so I decided to study culture —specifically Mexican culture — and I did it through language. I was captivated by the unique ways languages express their culture in words and phrases. It wasn't until I was finishing my Ph.D. In anthropology and linguistics — and cooking more than I was working on my dissertation — that I woke up to the fact that my true passion is food and culture. So I took a year off, traveled to Mexico, started research on my first book (my dissertation replacement), and thought I'd be a food writer. When that book was complete, I knew I was built for cooking food, not just writing about it. That's when my wife and I opened Frontera Grill and I knew that the restaurant kitchen is the place I feel most at home. Unless it's out discovering different cuisines and writing about them.

Who was your most important culinary influence?
In my formative years there were three, all female: My grandmother, who taught me that you can bring a whole lot more than simple nourishment to a dinner table. Julia Child, who opened my eyes to cuisine as a richly developed craft to be mastered. And Alice Waters, who put into words the sense of richness that comes from cooking with local, seasonal ingredients from people you know; I'd grown up with that in my parents' restaurant and discovered it even more intimately during my years living in Mexico.

What are the most important lessons you learned from that culinary influence?
See above.

What drew you to Mexican cuisine?
The generosity of the culture, the complexity of the food, and the clarity with which each dish reflected elements of history, culture, and geography.

What do you think Americans don't understand about the food of Mexico?
That tacos and the like are a very small part of the cuisine. That Mexican cuisine is incredibly diverse. That Mexican cuisine isn't very spicy. That Mexico has a very sophisticated side to its cuisine. That Mexican food isn't all served with beans and rice. That Mexican cuisine doesn't rely much on sour cream and melted cheese.

What advice would you give to a young would-be chef just starting out?
Cooking is a craft and is only mastered by years of repetitive practice. You have to love the act of cooking — cooking the same thing over and over again. You have to be able to get into the flow of cooking and learn from the products. Great cooking is a deep relationship between a cook and the ingredients — it's not a cook's domination of the ingredients. Ingredients have a lot to teach us cooks, if we'll just stop to listen.

How would you judge the quality of restaurants in America today compared with 20 years ago, and what has changed most about them?
We are a much more sophisticated restaurant culture than 20 years ago. Our expectations of what'll be on the menu, how it will be served, and what level of service we'll receive has increased a hundred fold. This has been the result of the confluence of different cultural developments, not the least of which are that we now have loads of culinary schools turning out very skilled chefs, and the availability of fresher and more diverse product from local sources.

Do restaurateurs have social responsibility beyond simply feeding people honestly in their restaurants?
Of course they do. We are a huge buying force in our country. We are voting with every dollar we spend. If we care about something, we should support it through our purchasing. To say "our customers don't care" is a cheap scapegoat, the reflection of a passionless or weak-spirited chef.

What future project, real or imagined, excites you most?
To have a culinary center that celebrates all aspects of Mexican cuisine, from the highest-end modern cuisine to the street food.


Introducing Twitter Food Council

Food lovers can now find even more to talk about on Twitter with the Twitter Food Council, a group of leading culinary figures who regularly join the Twitter conversation on all things food and food culture. Led by chef Alex Guarnaschelli (@guarnaschelli), the Twitter Food Council includes top chefs and influencers representing different cuisines and interests. Anyone who wants to join the conversation and interact with Council members can simply Tweet with the official hashtag, #FoodFlock.

Food is communal by nature, which is why these chefs and influencers Tweet their experiences as they happen. From Twitter Q&As, to Periscope chats, to Tweets from behind the scenes as a new project unfolds, you can interact directly with the experts and find daily inspiration in #FoodFlock Tweets, like these:

Here are the inaugural members of the Twitter Food Council:

  • Adam Rapoport: @rapo4, editor in chief, Bon Appetit
  • Alex Guarnaschelli: @guarnaschelli, celebrity chef and head of Twitter Food Council
  • Amanda Hesser: @amandahesser, co-founder and CEO, Food52
  • Anne Burrell: @chefanneburrell, celebrity chef
  • Ayesha Curry: @ayeshacurry, celebrity chef
  • Carla Hall: @carlahall, celebrity chef
  • Curtis Stone: @CurtisStone, celebrity chef
  • Geoffrey Zakarian: @gzchef, celebrity chef
  • Giada De Laurentiis: @GDeLaurentiis, celebrity chef
  • Graham Elliot: @grahamelliot, celebrity chef
  • José Andrés: @chefjoseandres, celebrity chef
  • Marcus Samuelsson: @MarcusCooks, celebrity chef
  • Michael Mina: @ChefMichaelMina, celebrity chef
  • Ming Tsai: @chefmingtsai, celebrity chef
  • Michael Symon: @chefsymon, celebrity chef
  • Nilou Motamed: @niloumotamed, editor in chief, Food & Wine
  • Rick Bayless: @Rick_Bayless, celebrity chef

Anyone can be a part of the Twitter Food Council conversation. Be sure to follow @TwitterFood and Tweet at your favorite chef with the hashtag #FoodFlock.


XOCO TO GO!

Indoor dining and patio seating are first-come, first-served. We are serving our full menu.

Download menu in PDF format:

LUNCH & DINNER MENU (AVAILABLE FOR INDOOR & PATIO DINING, CARRY-OUT AND DELIVERY)

Pickup on ChowNow

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Pickup + Delivery on DoorDash

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Delivery on Caviar

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Pickup + Delivery on GrubHub

Xoco is now on GrubHub! Head on over and place those delivery and pickup orders. Order on GrubHub

“Insanely good.” —Phil Vettel, Chicago Tribune

Xoco—pronounced “SHO-ko”—is the Aztec word for “little sister.” But there’s nothing little about Xoco’s bold Mexican marketplace flavors. Open early and closing late, this quick-service café from Rick and Deann Bayless proffers contemporary expressions of Mexico’s most beloved street food and snacks: flaky empanadas, hot-from-the-fryer churros, frothy Mexican hot chocolate, crusty tortas and meal-in-a-bowl caldos.

Best New Restaurant Time Out Chicago, 2010
Good Food 100 2017, 2018, 2019
LEED Gold Certification U.S. Green Building Council

Xoco
449 North Clark St (Enter on Illinois)
Chicago, IL 60654

FIESTA FRIENDLY FARE FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT

You like to party. We like to cook. Let’s make it happen.

XOCO’s new catering menu is full of crowd-pleasing, soul satisfying fare from award-winning chef Rick Bayless. We’ll bring to your party an amazing array of tacos, filled with your choice of meat from our wood-burning oven. (We make killer red chile vegetable tacos, too.) We’ll arrive with so much freshly made guacamole you’ll swear off the store bought stuff forever. We’ll fry up as many golden, crispy churros as your guests can handle.

We can even make things super simple with the new “Torta Lunch Box.” This handsome little package that arrives complete with half torta, side of guacamole, just-made tortilla chips, small fresh salad (with avocado-lime dressing) and a fantastic Mexican chocolate-hazelnut cookie.


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&ldquoWe were wondering, &lsquoWhat next?&rsquo and I thought, &lsquoWell, no one is making this regional Mexican food in the United States. We&rsquore talking 30-something years ago now. It was unknown, and I had this book that explored the regions of Mexico. So, I said, &lsquoWhy don&rsquot we open a mid-scale restaurant that does that?&rsquo&rdquo

They moved to Chicago, where Deann&rsquos family lived, and opened their first restaurant, Frontera Grill. &ldquoI knew I wanted to be in a major metropolitan area and I wanted some family support because I didn&rsquot know anyone,&rdquo he reflected. &ldquoChicago has been amazing for me. I couldn&rsquot ask for anything better.&rdquo

Frontera Grill was groundbreaking. Later, he opened Topolobampo as well as Xoco, and wrote many more cookbooks. He&rsquos also been the star of Mexico: One Plate At A Time on PBS for years. Filming for season 11 just wrapped.

Soon, he&rsquoll have even more restaurants in Chicago to attend to. His long-awaited brewery, tasting room and taqueria, Cruz Blanca, opens in May. Just announced too, though, is his next-door Baja restaurant, Leña Brava. Bayless said the name means &ldquofirewood that is ferocious.&rdquo He kept Leña Brava secret until only a few days ago. Unlike his other restaurants, those will be located in the West Loop area rather than downtown Chicago.

Bayless grew up as part of a barbecue restaurant family in Oklahoma and he's long merged his love for wood-fired food with his passion for authentic Mexican cuisine. &ldquoIt&rsquos in my veins, I guess. I&rsquove always cooked with live fire!&rdquo he said.

The food at Leña Brava will reflect that and be entirely wood-fired. &ldquoThere&rsquos not even a gas hookup,&rdquo said Bayless. &ldquoNo fryer, nothing. Just a huge hearth and a wood-burning oven. There&rsquos no convection oven, so all the pastries have to be cooked in the wood-burning oven.&rdquo

Beyond the ubiquitous fish tacos, few in the United States are familiar with all that Baja cuisine encompasses. "I don&rsquot think that there&rsquos been much Baja cuisine,&rdquo said Bayless. &ldquoIt takes generations for a cuisine to develop. There were so many people settling [in northern Baja] over the years &mdash the Russians and Italians about a century ago, the Chinese and Japanese, and of course there was a massive emigration from central Mexico there about 25 years ago. That's when Tijuana went from a sleepy, tiny town to the third-largest city in Mexico. You get all of that mixed together, and a very interesting cuisine develops.&rdquo

Bayless also pointed out that there are now more than 100 boutique wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe. Mexico isn't known for its wine, but that is on the way to changing. &ldquoThe only place in Mexico that has a climate like the Mediterranean is that chunk of Northern Baja. It&rsquos wet in the winter and dry in the summer. That is good for growing grapes, and that is why that region is there. There were many Italians [who settled] there, and they planted olive trees and, of course, the vines for the grapes.&rdquo

A new culinary descriptor, "Baja Med," has been going around, but Bayless doesn&rsquot think it tells the whole story. &ldquoOne of the chefs there coined that phrase,&rdquo explained Bayless. &ldquoIt combines Mexican cuisine &mdash that&rsquos the Baja part &mdash with Mediterranean cuisine, and lots of people have adopted it. I think it&rsquos too limiting because there&rsquos also a huge amount of Asian influence. There were big settlements of Japanese and Chinese there. I like to just call it Baja cuisine.&rdquo

Bayless has a great deal of regard for Houston&rsquos culinary scene but hasn&rsquot had time to explore it as much as he&rsquod like. In the past, he&rsquos visited Hugo&rsquos and Underbelly, and said he enjoyed both places very much. On this trip, he was planning to drop by mezcal and tequila bar The Pastry War before having to head back to the airport. Hopefully, he made it there in time.

Curious about the dishes Bayless made at the cooking demonstration? Check out the recipes below from More Mexican Everyday. We can vouch that all are tasty, even the spring green licuado, a type of green juice.

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7 Takeout Calorie Bombs To Avoid At All Costs

Takeout seems like a fast and easy solution when you&rsquore in a pinch, but make it a habit and you&rsquoll quickly pack on the pounds&mdashnot to mention empty out your wallet. These takeout staples are packed with calories, loaded with fat, and often come in oversized portions, a triple play that can quickly result in weight gain.

Cross these 7 items off your mental takeout menu for good, and replace them with our satisfying make-at-home alternatives.

Pad Thai with Tofu
The word &ldquotofu&rdquo makes it sound wholesome, but don&rsquot be fooled by this greasy dish. One serving of this vegetarian-friendly Thai standby is 750 calories and 23 grams of fat. That&rsquos more fat and calories than 2 slices of cheese pizza.
Make this instead: Cashew, Tofu, and Broccoli Stir-Fry This tasty tofu option boasts almost half the calories of the takeout dish and just one tablespoon of oil. Cashews add a satisfying crunch, and honey and soy sauce mimic the sweet-and-salty flavors of pad Thai. Best of all, it only takes 20 minutes to make&mdashless time than you&rsquod spend waiting for delivery!

Taco Salad
You might think any meal with the word &ldquosalad&rdquo in it must be virtuous, but when the salad bowl is a giant tortilla chip, the health value plummets. Add cheese, sour cream, and a hefty helping of beef to the greens, and that taco salad can easily pack 860 calories and 46 grams of fat. Iceberg lettuce and a tomato or two do little to counter the damage done by this takeout tragedy.
Make this instead: Chicken Soft Tacos with Tangy Guacamole This chicken tacos recipe from Rick Bayless has more flavor, more nutrition, and half the calories. Sprinkle on serrano chile peppers for a kick of metabolism-boosting heat, and savor the creamy guacamole while getting a dose of good-for-you monounsaturated fats. Top off the tacos with a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy guilt-free.

Chicken Alfredo
Using up nearly three-quarters of your daily calories while providing pretty much zero nutrients, chicken Alfredo is one of the worst carry-out meals you can pick up from your local Italian restaurant. At a whopping 1,440 calories and 82 grams of fat, this creamy, cheesy, buttery mess will set your diet back for days.
Make this instead: Loaded Alfredo with Chicken and Vegetables Our lighter version cuts the calories by more than half and ends up with 15 grams of fat&mdashnot bad for something this rich and creamy. Add in sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms to up the feel-full fiber content of this dish. Serve yourself a small portion and round it out with a side salad for a balanced comfort food dinner.

Fried Chicken Wings
Any food served in a bucket probably wouldn&rsquot win nutrition points from your dietitian, but if you think eating a few small wings instead of legs or thighs won&rsquot weigh you down, think again. Each fried chicken wing contains an average of 100 calories and 7 grams of fat, making this appetizer a diet disaster. Dunk a few wings in blue cheese dressing and you&rsquoll be approaching your allotted fat for the day.
Make this instead: Fiery Buffalo Wings Grilling or oven-roasting your wings cuts fat significantly it's also easier, cheaper (no quart of oil for frying), and (especially on the grill) tastier. Serve these spicy wings at your next game-watching party, and you won't feel bad about reaching for another. Want Asian-style wings? Simply sub in 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce for the hot sauce and follow the rest of the recipe.

Indian Curry Pork Vindaloo
Indian food tends to consist of chickpeas and vegetables, so it's a good healthy option, right? Not if the veggies and meat are buried in fatty curry sauce. Pork vindaloo can have 620 calories and 47 grams of fat&mdashand that&rsquos without basmati rice and bread it&rsquos often served with. Most other creamy curries pack loads of fat, too.
Try instead: Lime Biryani Our Indian recipe proves that you don&rsquot need a creamy sauce to have a flavorful, exotic dish. The fresh, clean taste of lime juice pops against curry powder for a healthy meal that packs a zesty punch. And with quinoa, almonds, and chickpeas&mdashall healthy proteins&mdashthis dish is as filling as it is interesting.

Chicken and Broccoli
This classic Chinese restaurant combo sounds like it would be low in calories, but what could be a healthy dish is usually derailed by too much brown sauce and oil. Chicken and broccoli from your favorite Chinese place can come with 660 calories and 26 grams of fat. Have it with a side of fried rice or lo mein noodles and your &ldquolight&rdquo dinner gets even fattier.
Make this instead: Turkey and Broccoli with Couscous Instead of greasy takeout, treat yourself to a meal packed with filling protein and flavor, with less than one gram of fat per serving. Skinless turkey cutlets are paired with fluffy couscous and veggies for an Asian-inspired meal without the calories of Chinese fast food.

Chicken Quesadilla
You might think a quesadilla is healthy because it&rsquos wrapped up in a thin tortilla&mdashat least it's low-carb, right? Despite their flat shape, quesadillas are full of fat and are high in calories. One 13-inch dish might have 980 calories and 55 grams of fat. No amount of low-calorie chunky salsa will redeem this cheesy disaster.
Make this instead: Asparagus Quesadillas Don&rsquot be skeptical of a dish that replaces gobs of cheese with asparagus&mdashwe promise it&rsquos still tasty! These little vegetarian quesadilla sandwiches still have enough Monterey jack cheese to satisfy your comfort food cravings with only 9 grams of fat. Have them with beans and brown rice for a complete meal, or serve them up alongside healthy grilled fish or chicken.


14 Weird Foods You Should Try

Chicken? Ho-hum. Kale? Aren&rsquot we over that yet? Broccoli. again? If you find yourself falling into a boring food rut meal after meal, we&rsquore here to dig you out. Introducing 14 very weird foods you should put on your menu tonight.

Pasta-holics, meet your dream vegetable: a squash that comes equipped with its own noodles. Slice this baby open after roasting it in the oven at 375 degrees and scrape out its strings with a fork for instant, 100% veggie pasta&mdashminus the refined carbs. It contains 2g of fiber per cup, potassium, and lots of vitamins A and C. Roast the seeds for a snack!

You might not have heard of this one before, but we&rsquore betting they&rsquoll become a kitchen staple in no time. Azuki beans, aka red beans, are the perfect conveyers for sweetness and the main ingredient in many Chinese treats. (We melt for red bean ice cream.) They&rsquore overflowing with iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. And the folic acid levels are incredible: one cup provides nearly 70% of your daily recommended intake. Use them in everything from vegetarian chili to brownies.

Chef Rick Bayless predicted that these would depose kale as the king of greens in 2013, and who are we to argue? Each dandelion green comes crammed with a bunch of calcium, vitamins, and protein. Use these bitter greens in smoothies, stir-fry, or raw crisp salads. They&rsquore the perfect farmers&rsquo market find.

Cue the superfoodies! Sea buckthorn is one of the coolest, weirdest fruits around. The acidic berries are a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and boast high levels of healthy fats, particularly the rare omega-7. Plus, with about 15 times the vitamin C of oranges, lots of vitamin E, and tons of amino acids, they definitely achieve superfood status. Sea buckthorn does double duty as a powerful beautifier, and the oily berries are often featured in skin products.

For a deliciously tart and healthy treat, try sea buckthorn juice. (Makes a great mixer, too! Sea-buckthorn mimosas, anyone?)

Walnuts and almonds get all the glory, but this oblong nut is a nutritional powerhouse. They&rsquore crazy high in protein, good fats, and vitamins. And just one nut has all the cancer-fighting selenium you need for a day, making it the richest dietary source of selenium by far. Next time you see a lonely, plucked-over Brazil nut at the bottom of a mix, give it a good home and soak up the benefits.

Life ain&rsquot tough when you&rsquove got teff. Seriously, have you ever tried this stuff? When baked into injera, a spongy, slightly sour bread perfect for sopping up Ethiopian dishes, teff is transformed into the most delicious grain on earth. It&rsquos high in fiber, amino acids, protein, calcium, and iron, too. And it&rsquos gluten-free!

All potatoes pack vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, but these ravishing taters have four times the antioxidants as their paler potato peers, thanks to the purplifying antioxidant anthocyanin. According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, two small helpings of purple potatoes a day decreased blood pressure by about 4% and might protect against heart disease.

Nab &lsquoem at Asian markets, and prepare them as you would regular potatoes&mdashmight we suggest this herb-roasted potato medley? Keep the skin on to get all that purply goodness.

Forget the Chia Pet, because these seeds were made for eating. Though they&rsquore positively tiny, chia seeds pack an unbelievable amount of nutrition: 11 grams of fiber in a single ounce, plus 4 grams of protein and 18% of your daily calcium. They&rsquore rich in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid, too.

Sprinkle them in your cereal, smoothies, or homemade cookies. Or take retro inspiration from the Chia Pet, which got one thing right: when you add water to these seeds, something magical happens. It transforms into a gel that&rsquos perfect for making chia pudding!

This alien veggie might have a tough exterior, but kohlrabi, which means &ldquocabbage-turnip&rdquo in German, is really very lovable. It has lots of potassium, antioxidants, and vitamin C (one cup packs 138% of your daily allotment). And it&rsquos super versatile: peel and eat it raw, toss it in a salad for a crunchy snap, and sauté the tasty greens. If you ask us, simpler is better, so try out this easy recipe for nutmeg-glazed kohlrabi.

No, you&rsquore not back in the 60&rsquos: these 'shrooms really are crazy looking. But they&rsquore also crazy healthy! The skinny, finger-like enoki mushroom is high in cancer-crushing antioxidants, protein, and fiber. Buy these delicately-flavored mushrooms dried or fresh, and toss them in grilled chicken salads and Thai coconut soup.

Cut this tropical fruit open and you&rsquoll see why it gets its name. Starfruits are tart, a little bit sour, and juicy beyond belief. They&rsquore also brimming with vitamin C and antioxidants, so juice them with confidence. You can also cook them down into a flavorful sauce that complements Asian flavors. But our favorite recipe? Ripe, unpeeled, eaten over the sink.

Venture underwater for your dinner, and you&rsquoll surface with a whole bunch of new nutrients you can&rsquot get on land. Sea vegetables provide an array of unique minerals, like iodine and underwater antioxidants. Kelp, a type of brown algae that&rsquos a lot more delicious than it sounds, is full of iron, folate, and vitamin K. It&rsquos anti-inflammatory and might help lower cholesterol. (Just make sure to buy certified organic sea veggies, since they can absorb arsenic from their watery environs.)

Ah, and the taste! Mossy and a bit salty, it&rsquos exquisitely unique. Enjoy sea veggies in your miso soup, shake kelp flakes on top of your salads, or roll your sushi in paper-thin nori&mdashno cooking required.

Insanely delicious and a geometric wonder? Your plate has never been prettier. Romanesco looks and cooks like cauliflower, with a light broccoli flavor and loads of vitamin C, vitamin K, and&mdashof course&mdashantioxidants. And here&rsquos why it&rsquos the coolest crucifer ever: count the spirals per head, and it&rsquos always a Fibonacci number. All hail the vegetable fractal!


Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen

Bursting with bold, complex flavors, Mexican cooking has the kind of gusto we want in food today. Until now, American home cooks have had few authorities to translate the heart of this world-class cuisine to everyday cooking.

In this book of more than 150 recipes, award-winning chef, author and teacher Rick bayless provides the inspiration and guidance that home cooks have Bursting with bold, complex flavors, Mexican cooking has the kind of gusto we want in food today. Until now, American home cooks have had few authorities to translate the heart of this world-class cuisine to everyday cooking.

In this book of more than 150 recipes, award-winning chef, author and teacher Rick bayless provides the inspiration and guidance that home cooks have needed. With a blend of passion, patience, clarity and humor, he unerringly finds his way into the very soul of Mexican cuisine, from essential recipes and explorations of Mexico's many chiles to quick-to-prepare everyday dishes and pull-out-the-stops celebration fare.

Bayless begins the journey by introducing us to the building blocks of Mexican cooking. With infectious enthusiasm and an entertaining voice, he outlines 16 essential preparations-deeply flavored tomato sauces and tangy tomatillo salsas, rich chile pastes and indispensable handmade tortillas.

Fascinating cultural background and practical cooking tips help readers to understand these preparations and make them their own. Each recipe explains which steps can be completed in advance to make final preparation easier, and each provides a list of the dishes in later chapters that are built around these basics. And with each essential recipe, Bayless includes several “Simple Ideas from My American Home”—quick, familiar recipes with innovative Mexican accents, such as Baked Ham with Yucatecan Flavors, Spicy Chicken Salad, Ancho-Broiled Salmon and Very, Very Good Chili.

Throughout, the intrepid Bayless brings chiles into focus, revealing that Mexican cooks use these pods for flavor, richness, color and, yes, sometimes for heat. He details the simple techniques for getting the best out of every chile-from the rich, smoky chipotle to the incendiary but fruity habanero.

Then, in more than 135 recipes that follow, Bayless guides us through a wide range of richly flavored regional Mexican dishes, combining down-home appeal and convivial informality with simple culinary elegance. It's all here: starters like Classic Seviche Tostadas or Chorizo-Stuffed Ancho Chiles soups like Slow-Simmered Fava Bean Soup or Rustic Ranch-Style Soup casual tortilla-based preparations like Achiote-Roasted Pork Tacos or Street-Style Red Chile Enchiladas vegetable delights like Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin, or Green Poblano Rice even a whole chapter on classic fiesta food (from Oaxacan Black Mole with Braised Chicken, Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail and Great Big Tamal Roll with Chard with the incomparable Juchitan-Style Black Bean Tamales) and ending with a selection of luscious desserts like Modern Mexican Chocolate Flan with KahIua and Yucatecan-Style Fresh Coconut Pie. To quickly expand your Mexican repertoire even further, each of these recipes is accompanied by suggestions for variations and improvisations.

There is no greater authority on Mexican cooking than Rick Bayless, and no one can teach it better. In his skillful hands, the wonderful flavors of Mexico will enter your kitchen and your daily cooking routine without losing any of their depth or timeless appeal. . more


Rick Bayless' Game Day Queso Fundido Burgers Will Make You Melt

This football season, we’ve partnered with Taste of the NFL and their favorite tailgating experts to share great game-day recipes for an even greater cause. Join these chefs in raising awareness and funds for hunger relief across the country by taking the Kick Hunger Challenge with your favorite football team and making a donation to their local food bank. And be sure to check PEOPLE.com every Thursday for a new game day recipe from your favorite celebrity chefs. Here, the 2016 Julia Child Award winner, chef Rick Bayless, shares his recipe for queso fundido burgers.

On Sundays in Chicago, the lakefront is overtaken by hungry Bears fans looking for something hearty. A big tray of spicy, smoky queso fundido burgers will do the trick.

For this recipe, I like to use ground chuck because it offers a beefy flavor and richness I like for special occasions when these burgers are appropriate. They are tender, full of flavor, and topped with lots of delicious, gooey cheese to satisfy that game-day hunger.

Whatever you do, don’t share with any Packer fans.

RELATED: Chef Daniel Boulud Blogs: Grilled Sausages with Homemade Sauerkraut Make the Ultimate Game Day Snack

WATCH THIS: Mix Butter Into Beef for the Juiciest Burgers Ever!

RELATED: Chefs Bruce and Eric Bromberg Blog: Feed a Game Day Crowd with These Loaded Bacon Cheese Fries

Queso Fundido Burgers
Serves 4

  • 2 medium fresh poblano chiles
  • 8 oz. fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, removed from its casing if there is one
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely minced, seeded if you wish
  • 8 thick slices Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted

1. Roast the poblanos over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let cool. Rub off the blackened skin and pull out the stems and seed pods. Cut into 1/4-inch strips.

2. Set a large (10-inch) skillet over medium. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking up large chunks, until the chorizo is beginning to brown and is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Scrape on to a plate lined with paper towels and let cool. Return the skillet to medium heat, measure in the oil and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently until it begins to brown, 7 or 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and poblano and cook for 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 tsp. Scrape the rajas into a bowl and cover to keep warm.

3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, the cooled chorizo, the chipotles and 3/4 tsp. salt. Mix thoroughly but lightly (to keep from turning out an overly compact texture). Divide into 4 portions, lightly pressing them into patties the size of your buns.

4. Heat a gas grill to medium-high on one side, medium on the other or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash (and still quite hot), then bank the coals to one side.

5. Lay the hamburger patties on the hottest side of the grill and cook until the grill grates have seared beautiful marks on one side, about 2 minutes if your grill is quite hot, then flip and cook until the hamburger is a little less done than you like (usually a couple of minutes longer for rare to medium rare). Move the burgers to the cooler side of the grill. Lay one piece of cheese on top of each burger, top with a portion of the warm rajas and then another piece of cheese. Close the lid and continue cooking until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Remove from the grill and place on a toasted bun. Serve immediately.


Adeev plays the trumpet while Ezra plays trombone, and they include Wynton Marsalis as one of their early mentors. The Potashes EP "The Potash Twins" landed at number nine on the iTunes Jazz Charts back in 2015. They&aposve also been go-to entertainment for food festivals around the country, including Rick Bayless&apos James Beard Awards afterparty.

While playing the Minneapolis jazz scene, the Potashes connected with travel show host and music fan Andrew Zimmern who produced a miniseries for the Travel Channel called Southern Road Trip with The Potash Twins. According to Bravo, they call Zimmern "Food Dad." But the Potashes say their love of exploring food was spurred early on by their mother who frequently traveled abroad for her job. She would bring back delicacies from other food cultures, introducing the twins to trying new flavors.


Rick Bayless’ ‘Mexico: One Plate at a Time’ is serving up 10th season on PBS

He has three renowned Mexican restaurants in Chicago, five Tortas Frontera outposts (including three at O’Hare International Airport) plus several Frontera Fresco eateries. He has written eight cookbooks, and his Frontera Foods company makes sauces, marinades and tortilla chips for supermarkets.

And, yes, he also has a television show, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” which kicked off its 10th season recently on PBS.

So you’d think Chef Rick Bayless would know pretty much all there is to know about Mexican food. Think again.

“I always learn something,” Bayless said of his travels throughout Mexico for the show.

This time, though, he won’t be learning from grandmothers in Oaxaca or Veracruz. Instead, his teachers are a dozen-plus young chefs in Mexico City, some just toddlers when Bayless opened Frontera Grill, his first restaurant, 28 years ago this March. Chefs like Gabriela Camara (Contramar), Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil), Edgar Nunez (Sud 777), Paloma Ortiz (Yuban) and Eduardo “Lalo” Garcia (Maximo Bistrot) among them.

“The most interesting part is to see some of these young chefs bring new eyes to old ingredients or old techniques,” Bayless says. “They all have amazing equipment in their kitchens, and some of it is quite high-tech. To see it applied to Mexican ingredients sometimes just blows me away.”

There’s the time he found a comal, a traditional earthenware cooking platter, in an ultramodern restaurant kitchen. Bayless asked the chef: Why not use cast iron, steel or stainless steel?

The answer: “Because the clay absorbs moisture in a different way than those other pieces could do and I can get a certain kind of char. The clay is really gentle even when you’re charring stuff. If you do that on steel, it will just burn it.”

And the time a chef used a programmable blending/grinding/cooking appliance called a Thermomix to make mole.

“It took all the pain out of it,” Bayless says, “but it tasted super traditional.”

Not all the learning takes place in restaurant kitchens, of course. Bayless and the chefs head to the streets, neighborhoods, bakeries, cooking schools and markets of Mexico City — as well as a high-rise terrace in Polanco that has been turned into a vineyard that produces tempranillo, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and albarino.

Bayless asks each chef to take him to a place that inspires him or her, and not one chooses a fancy restaurant.

“One chef took me to his aunt’s house, and she made the dish that inspired a dish on his menu,” Bayless says.

And chef Jorge Vallejo — “My favorite chef right now in Mexico” — took him to the famous Taqueria Los Cocuyos.

“It’s just a little window on a street,” Bayless recalls. “And I said, ‘I love your food. It’s super refined. You make, to me, the most deeply rooted modern food that’s very precise. Why did you take me to this place?’ And he said, ‘Taste it. Taste it.’ And I took a bite of it and it just makes you melt.

“I said, ‘I get it. … You brought me here because it’s all about a flavor that is so commanding that it takes your breath away.’ ”

“If we don’t have that,” Vallejo told him, “we don’t have anything.”

“Every chef in Mexico City will tell you that in five years there has been an explosion of amazing food in Mexico City,” Bayless says during an interview in his offices above Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and the first Xoco (a second one opened last year). As a result, this season’s shows don’t bear any resemblance to the previous shows he did in the Mexican capital.

Several factors are at play. Many of the young chefs have been trained in Europe, often Spain, and they’re inspired by chefs who are reinventing cuisines, Bayless says. They’re boiling and grinding their own corn, sometimes heirloom varieties, to make masa for tortillas. They’re trying to save ancient varieties of cacao and rethinking how their grandmothers prepared huazontles (also spelled huauzontles), a spiky green with clusters on top that look like tiny broccoli florets.

And they’ve headed back to the floating gardens of Xochimilco, where their pre-Columbian ancestors grew vegetables and flowers on rafts woven with reeds and tree branches to form small islands (chinampas) that float among the canals. Today they’re guided by an agricultural expert who helps them grow wild greens (quelites).

“Every single one of them says the same thing, ‘When I got away from Mexico, I realized how incredibly rich the ingredients are and the traditions are. I just want to come back and work in that,'” Bayless says. “This is the first generation of chefs that’s ever done that, and I think that is so super.”

You’ll find young talent all over the city, but especially in two colonias — what Mexico City calls its neighborhoods — Polanco and Condesa.

“So there are really two — depending on your budget. The really high-end restaurants that are doing really incredible stuff with great service in very beautiful setting, that’s all in Polanco,” Bayless says, with Condesa “the real hipster neighborhood. All small restaurants. Nothing you would send all the out-of-towners to because it wasn’t that polished. But you see people doing a juice bar, a really cool coffee shop, somebody who just focuses on baked goods. That sort of stuff. And it’s not all collected in one place.”

Because Pujol chef Enrique Olvera (“now Mexico’s most famous contemporary chef,” says Bayless) has been featured twice in past seasons, an interview with him is included in a show with an Olvera protege. “He’s the grandfather of the movement. It’s all these younger chefs who are looking to him for inspiration.”

While each episode ends with Bayless cooking a recipe or two (green adobo grilled fish, homemade chorizo, etc.), this season is slightly different: Instead of Bayless taking the viewer around and teaching, this time he stands in for the audience and the chefs teach him.

Still having a good time? “The truth is, if I stop doing it, it’s going to take a whole lot of what feeds me. A whole lot of the projects that I am involved in is me feeding other people literally and figuratively. And so sometimes I get used up. And I just need to rejuvenate myself, and I rejuvenate myself by doing the shows,” says Bayless, who’s busy prepping another season and a new cookbook. “I really love it because it keeps me very deeply involved in different communities in Mexico that I wouldn’t really know that well in another way.”