Last week I had opportunity to see celebrity chef, Rick Bayless. Bayless is the winner of the first Top Chef Masters. The fact that his specialty is Mexican cuisine made it quite a surprise. I loved Top Chef Masters on BravoTV. The chefs were passionate and the pinnacle of professionalism. Consequently, I was excited to see him in person.
I don’t know a lot about Mexican foods. I know far more Tex-Mex than anything. Bayless was wonderful at citing the differences in the two. I was impressed by his passion for freshness, local ingredients and relationships with the source for ingredients. Bayless manages rooftop gardens in order to grow fresh spices for his dishes. An audience member asked how he managed food waste in his Chicago restaurants, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and XOCO. He explained that a lot goes into planning up front, but in some instances left overs go to the staff. Often times a large stew is prepared to use perishables and it is served to staff and others.
Bayless appeared as the guest of Left Bank Books at the Ethical Society of St. Louis and the Sauce Magazine Celebrity Chef Series. The event was free and after the interview Bayless signed books. I am a beginner in Mexican cooking, so I got a copy of Mexican Everyday.
Next up? A night with Anthony Bourdain at the Fox Theatre on Oct. 1.