Chatting with the Chefs: Rick Bayless and Zachary Walrath

9/5/2016

Come visit with two star chefs in one morning as we host two very special Chef Demonstrations on September 10, 2016. Chef Rick Bayless at 9:30am followed by Chef Zachary Walrath at 10:30am

Chef Rick Bayless is a founder of Green City Market and one of its longest and most avid supporters. Many people know Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters or from his highly rated Public Television Series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time. Bayless's award-winning restaurants are in Chicago. Frontera Grill was founded in 1987 and received the James Beard Foundation’s highest award, Outstanding Restaurant, in 2007. The 4-star Toplobampo served its first meals in 1991. And the wildly popular, LEED GOLD-certified, fast-casual Xoco has been around since 2009. Tortas Frontera have changed the face of food service at O’Hare International Airport, and Frontera Fresco has brought Frontera flavors to several Macy’s stores and Northwestern University. In 2016, he opened two new restaurants in the West Loop — Leña Brava and the adjacent Cervecería Cruz Blanca, a craft brewery and Oaxacan-style taquería. 

Bayless 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. 

Bayless also has nine cookbooks and has received a great number of James Beard Award nominations in many categories, and he has won seven: Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Who’s Who of American Food and Drink, Best Podcast, plus two for his cookbooks.

The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Bayless the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people. 

What is your favorite Green City Market product?
That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child! I’m always smitten with the produce from Nichols Farm. We use a lot from their farms in our restaurants.

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago (other than shop at Green City Market, of course)?
Deann and I love the city’s theater scene. When we have free time, you can usually find us taking in a performance somewhere.

 What is in your fridge right now?
Eggs from my backyard chickens, some opened white wines and green chile adobo, an herby, spicy seasoning sauce that goes on pretty much everything.

What is one tip you have for home cooks shopping at Green City Market?
Have a plan! There’s so much to choose from and it all looks so good. But coming home with a great haul — and not knowing how to use it — usually results in food waste. So think
before you shop.

What is the one food your couldn't live without?
A little fried dough. Every culture doesn’t it differently and I can’t have enough of it.


In 2006, Chef Zachary Walrath moved to Chicago from his hometown of Rock Falls, Illinois to start culinary school and graduated with his Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He gained experience working at various restaurants in Chicago and in 2010 he joined the culinary team at the newly opened Wit Hotel where he worked under Chef Todd Stein before he was recruited by Stein to join him at The Florentine. For the past five years, Walrath has remained a fixture on the culinary team at The Florentine. As Chef de Cuisine, Walrath has developed his own unique approach to the menu, adding a bit of a contemporary touch to traditional Italian cuisine and incorporating influences and inspirations he finds while dining out at various restaurants in Chicago. When he’s not in the kitchen or looking for inspiration at one of Chicago’s diverse restaurants, Walrath can be found cheering on the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears, whether winning or losing.

What is your favorite Green City Market product?
Cookies and Carnitas pork belly sandwich

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago (other than shop at Green City Market, of course)?
Eat, it's surprising how good and how high the quality is of the onsite prepared food there

What is in your fridge right now?
Sweet Corn and tomatoes from a small farm back home. A beef roast that needs to be cooked, cottage cheese, and Parmesan fresh grated

What is one tip you have for home cooks shopping at Green City Market?
Keep it simple and don't over buy, you can't possible eat 20lbs green beans in a week

What is the one food your couldn't live without?
Sweet corn in the summer, Ribeye steak all the time.

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