Rick Bayless

Contact Info

Rick Bayless, Chef/Owner
445 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654


Most people know Chef Rick Bayless from winning the inaugural season of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine. Others know him from the twelve seasons of his highly rated Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time, which was broadcast coast to coast and has earned him multiple Daytime Emmy nominations for Best Culinary Host. While known and lauded internationally for his TV shows, cookbooks, and philanthropy, Rick still spends most of his days in Chicago on Clark Street, continuing to spread the joy and push the boundaries of authentic Mexican cuisine with his restaurants: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco, and Bar Sótano. Rick and his wife, Deann, founded the casual Frontera Grill in 1987 and received the James Beard Foundation’s highest award, Outstanding Restaurant, in 2007. The 4-star Toplobampo, which served its first meals in 1991, earned the Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2017 — a unprecedented accomplishment for side-by-side restaurants. At Topolobampo, Rick has also achieved a different feat: earning and maintaining a Michelin star since the guide first came to Chicago 12 years ago. Excited to share the whole breadth of Mexican Cuisine, Rick brought River North the fast-casual, LEED GOLD-certified Xoco in 2009. This widely popular spot serves wood-oven tortas, steaming caldos, golden churros, and bean-to-cup Mexican hot chocolate. And in 2018, Rick and his daughter Lanie opened Bar Sótano, a speakeasy-style mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food. Rick’s quick-service Tortas Frontera/Tortazo changed the face of food service at O’Hare International Airport, while their sister concept Tortazo is quickly multiplying through Chicago and NYC. Rick and his staff have also dedicated themselves to changing the restaurant industry for the better, establishing 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 $3 million. Rick 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 Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people. And 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.”