Tuesday, May 8, 2007

James Beard, Rick Bayless and Bottoms Up Bobby

From everything I've read about him, a really nice guy won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant of 2007. And that is Rick Bayless of the Frontera Grill in Chicago. He, along with his wife, Deann Bayless, won at a gala black tie ceremony last night at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. This is his 3rd James Beard award. In 1995 he won for Outstanding Chef, and in 1998 he won the Humanitarian Award. His other well-known Chicago restaurant, Topolobampo, was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as one of the top 5 restaurants in the country for Outstanding Service in 2005.

Rick Bayless did not go the Food Network route except as an occasional chef. (He lost an Iron Chef challenge to Bobby Flay in 2005.) His current cooking show, Mexico: One Plate At A Time is on Public Television. He presents authentic Mexican cooking, and once you can get your hands on some of the exotic ingredients, his recipes are wonderful to make at home.

His books also explore Mexican food in a way that hasn't been done since Diana Kennedy first wrote The Cuisines Of Mexico.

By the way, Bobby Flay, a James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef Winner himself in 1993, was one of the chefs of Monday night's Gala dinner. His contribution was a boozy as well as briny one: his recipe was Oyster and Lobster Shooters. ¡Ay, caramba!

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