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Rick Bayless, Chef-Slash-Thespian, on His Next Show

Rick Bayless, Chef-Slash-Thespian, on His Next Show



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Last time we spoke to Rick Bayless, the Chicago chef planned a dinner date for us (potentital suitors please click here) in response to his new dinner theater show "Cascabel."

Seeing as the "Cascabel" run is over, when we caught up with Bayless at Cooking Light's Light Up the Night event, we had to ask if he'd do it again.

"The thing with that show was it’s a very expensive show to do," Bayless admitted. "The tickets were not cheap at all, but we didn’t make any money, so it was a labor of love for most of us."

His guess for future plans? A relaunch for another six-week run. "We wrote it, we produced it, it was a great hit," he said, "But now we’re all thinking, 'Oh it would be better, if we did this, did that.'" So up next for "Cascabel": more additions to the story lines, some backstories to the characters, and a bit more involvement in character development.

In the meantime, Bayless is serving as a diplomat of sorts with the American Chefs Corps (which he says is a "really exciting thing; never before have chefs been brought in to be an active part of diplomacy,") while also working on a separate production.

"Part of our struggle with ['Cascabel'] was you could only have 150 people in the audience, and the food had to come super fast," Bayless said. "If you’re thinking about serving a gourmet hot entrée to 150 people in 3.5 minutes, that was a real challenge. Now my idea is to do something that is a little more personal to me."

Currently he's writing a show with stories about his own history as a chef, and the audience would ideally be only 30 or 40 people so Bayless himself can cook for them. "I’ve been doing a bunch of writing, sort of personal history writing," Bayless said. "Every chapter of this thing I’m working on is focused on this dish and how this dish really sums up a certain part of my life, so I would like to tell a story of my life essentially in a five- or six-course meal. And each dish would have something in it that’s really about me personally, how I got to be the person that I am."

Which means Bayless will probably be putting out a memoir as well. "Maybe in conjunction with [the play]," he said. We're expecting a movie next.


Mexico&mdashOne Plate at a Time

After ten seasons of exploring various states of Mexico, we couldn&rsquot resist the allure of the Yucatán peninsula. The Yucatán Peninsula is home to North America&rsquos largest indigenous population &ndash the Mayans &ndash with the highest percentage of native language speakers in the country. Home to one of the world&rsquos great cuisines, it shares much of the culinary practices and basic ingredients of the rest of Mexico. However, its unique location put the peninsula in a position to welcome the cultural influences, ingredients and flavors of Spain, Portugal, France, Lebanon, Cuba, Africa and the Caribbean. Uniquely Yucatecan ingredients, such as achiote and limas, along with pit-cooking techniques, set the cuisine apart from the rest of Mexico. We witness the global influences on this large state with hundreds of miles of coastline.

For the eleventh season of Chef Rick Bayless&rsquo highly-rated cooking and travel show, we&rsquore taking our viewers all over the Yucatán peninsula to explore a burgeoning restaurant scene, evolving cuisine and ancient culture that makes this state so irresistible.

Rick takes viewers on a journey as seen through the eyes of Merida&rsquos passionate chefs, Playa del Carmen&rsquos fisherman and eco-minded restaurateurs. Episodes feature a prominent chef in his/her acclaimed restaurant or establishment. The chef prepares a dish and guides Rick on a tour of their inspirations for a life in food&mdashfrom their grandmothers, to abundant markets to significant restaurants. Then Rick, the consummate cooking teacher, brings it all home so viewers everywhere can try their own hand at this incredible cuisine.

Taste

  • A chef&rsquos tour of Merida: Meet the city&rsquos top chefs and their restaurants
  • Off the beaten path: Restaurants that inspired the chefs
  • Chocolate from the ground up
  • Pit-roasting techniques from traditional to modern
  • A tour of cooking schools for the home cook and the professional
  • Sustainable lobster fishing
  • Ceviche lessons from top chefs
  • Cooking in your vacation home
  • Live-fire cooking

Markets

Markets in the Yucatán are some of Mexico&rsquos most stunning stalls sell everything from dozens of varieties of citrus, to stunning fresh seafood. Rick takes us to a traditional market in Merida and a community-building farmer&rsquos market in Playa del Carmen.

Cooking

  • Rick will cook alongside the Yucatan&rsquos finest chefs, home cooks, and market vendors.
  • At his home kitchen, viewers will see how he translates the intricate restaurant dishes and native Mayan classics of the Yucatán into everyday enjoyment in our American kitchens.
  • Rick introduces viewers to chefs from the Yucatán and the United States that push the boundaries of Mexican cuisine into new and inspiring directions.

Authentic Mexican Food

I learned this for myself when I spent three weeks living in Chacala, Mexico, a small town located on the Pacific Ocean, north of Sayulita. During this time I discovered genuine Mexican food to be much fresher, and often much lighter than the Tex-Mex variety that has pervaded the states.

While I was in Mexico, the seafood was caught directly from the ocean and prepared on the very same day. Vegetables, like fresh tomatoes, summer squash, and peppers, were all obtained from the local market and used abundantly throughout each meal. Cheese and sour cream were served sparingly, and lunch was a larger occasion than dinner. Above all else, the food was delicious and nourishing.


Appetizer Recipes by Rick Bayless: Salads, Soups, and More

Start your next get-together with family and friends on the right foot with these recipes! From skewers loaded with fruit and vegetables to homemade soup and fresh salads, these easy appetizer recipes are perfect for just about any event on your social calendar. You'll also impress family and friends by whipping up restaurant-level food right in the comfort of your own home. If you need some inspiration for your next game-watch party or weekend party with the family, then you'll want to keep these recipes at your fingertips.

Tip: Some of these recipes can even be served as lighter options for lunch or dinner if you want to shake up your usual meal planning, then give these recipes a look! Simply serve these appetizers with warm tortillas or just-baked bread for a meal that's filling and delicious.


Chef Rick Bayless Shares His Tips On Pairing Wine With Mexican Flavors

Chef Rick Bayless is best known for winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters but he has also authored nine cookbooks, opened several restaurants (including Frontera Grill and Xoco) and hosted 11 seasons of the award-winning PBS Series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time. Given his long history elevating the food and flavors of Mexico, he was the obvious choice to ask about pairing wine and Mexican cuisine—which sounds more difficult than it actually is. Interestingly, he cites his biggest challenge in pairing wines is not in matching the flavors but in debunking the myth that beer and margaritas are the only viable pairing options.

This month he will be honored at the Smithsonian Food History Gala, as the 2016 recipient of the Julia Child Award. Bayless is the second chef in the world to receive this award (Jacques Pepin was the first), an award that, according to the website, “honors a chef who has made a profound difference in the way American cooks, eats and drinks.” Bayless has certainly earned the accolade. Below he shares his insights into how he think about wine and food and what to consider when enjoying wine with Mexican cuisine.

What do you consider first when pairing a dish with a wine? Or any beverage for that matter? Generally, we know that we’re pairing wine with sauce (moles, pipians, chile sauces and the like), and not the protein. In our kitchens, we also have to consider the acidity component in Mexican cooking. Sweet wines and acidic ingredients are really, really bad together — you’ll find the acid throws off the wine totally. So, we consider that. For dishes like ceviche, we like highly acidic, not terribly floral wines

What are the biggest challenges in pairing wines with Mexican cuisine? Are there any basic guidelines that the average consumer can keep in mind when considering pairings? Frankly, the biggest challenge is busting the beer-and-margarita mold. Our longtime sommelier Jill Gubesch works to get guests engaged with the idea of wine with Mexican food. The more you understand how well it works together, the more you realize the list of wines can be super eclectic and the possibilities are dazzling.

Is there one perfect pairing that you have personally enjoyed? What was the dish, where were you and who were you with? The first time I really understood how magical a perfect food and wine pairing could be was nearly 40 years ago, as I was honing my nascent chef skills. I'd made a special birthday dinner for a friend, one that included steamed asparagus with classic beurre blanc as a first course and a saddle of lamb for the main (I was cooking a lot of classic French food during that time). Having just finished my first wine class, I chose a Mondavi Fumé Blanc for the asparagus dish. And BAM! The flavors took off like a rocket. The dish tasted even better with the wine and vice versa. I remember it like it was yesterday.

What do you love most about working with Mexican ingredients? Quite honestly I feel this buzz every time I set out to cook — whether on our public television show, leading the kitchens at our Chicago restaurants, testing cookbook recipes, or a big blowout fiesta at home. Simply put, using traditional ingredients and time-honored techniques to prepare dishes that express the spirit of Mexico is what I live for.

Is there a tequila style that pairs well with Mexican flavors? I'm not the biggest fan of tequila-food pairings. For me, tequila is a little strong to go with a whole meal. However, a good herbaceous blanco tequila with ceviche is amazing. Ditto with guacamole and many of the dishes from the snacky side of Mexico's cuisine.

Is there a wine style that tends to work well (most of the time) with Mexican cuisine? We work a lot with dried red chiles at our restaurants, and those are in the fruit family, so different chiles have different fruit profiles. Jill pairs the flavor profiles of the chiles with the flavor profiles of the wine. Her go-tos for our popular moles — black mole and mole poblano — include Zinfandel or Zinfandel blends.


Rick Bayless, Chef-Slash-Thespian, on His Next Show - Recipes

These Crusty Black Bean-Chorizo Subs were our first introduction to the Mexican torta and they were a huge hit. It is worth seeking out traditional Mexican bolillo rolls at your supermarket because the bread really does make a difference. We loved these layered sammies with smashed black beans, spicy chorizo, creamy avocado, and salty feta cheese all served up on some good crusty bread. I crave these sandwiches.

19 comments:

The shrimp will be on my favorites list too! Great wrap-up, Kim. with awesome pictures. I HAVE to make those enchiladas.

I love your wrap ups! Reminds me there are so many great dishes I still have to try. Delicious!

Great post Kim. I have all these recipes bookmarked and can't wait to try them :)

All great recipes. Just knowing how much I love shrimp, that one would be my fav.
Sam

I want to make ALL of these!

Kim, I commented on your shrimp before because it looks so wonderful. Love garlic, looks mouth watering.

Wow so delicious Crispy Chicken Tortas

Quick Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasted Garlic, very interesting, and wanted to try it.

you are good at cooking, I love food especially is Quick and Easy Arroz con Pollo

it's such a fun idea to stick with one chef and really get to know their style. ALL of these dishes look amazing, Mexican food is definitely my fave, and NJ is lacking! i'll have to give these a spin.

Great top five! I'm doing the top five too! It has been fun cooking with Rick and looking forward to our new selected chef!

Yep, I'd hit everyone of those!

I'm so glad you commented on my blog so I could find you. I can tell I've going to love your posts. I just did a blog post on that Toasty Garlic Shrimp. I'm glad to know about those enchiladas. And I've looked that that photo of that black bean sub 50 times and have never made it. Great line up of Bayless recipes here.

You made some wonderful dishes with Rick. I still want to try those garlic shrimp--they just make my mouth water! -)

Since my kids love chicken I would love to try the Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.They make my mouth water seeing your recipe.

What a great round-up of your faves, Kim. I'm pretty sure I would like every one of those dishes, and I'm certain I would adore the shrimp.

Those enchiladas sure look good.

Greeting from Belgium "with a diner in Blue Sky Mons"

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! At the moment I am having a huge problem with spam so I've had to add comment moderation and close off comments to anonymous users. I apologize for the trouble and hope to return my comments to normal shortly.


Rick Bayless, Chef-Slash-Thespian, on His Next Show - Recipes

I'm looking to make a new friend. Maybe you've heard of him. His name is Rick Bayless. I've heard his name before, and I've watched 2 or 3 episodes of his show "Mexico: One Plate at a Time". But I don't really know that much about him and I've never tried any of his recipes.

Well, that's all about to change. For the next six months, Rick Bayless will be the featured chef of I Heart Cooking Clubs, and will be a weekly feature here in my cocina. I don't see any reason why we wouldn't get along. Rick's specialty is Mexican food, and I just happen to live in Mexico, where I cook Mexican food almost daily. On paper, we're perfect for each other. But who knows. Only time will tell.

To welcome Rick to my cocina, I prepared a couple of Micheladas, to toast to what I hope is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Micheladas are a popular, somewhat spicy, beer cocktail here in Mexico. I've already shared my recipe for Micheladas con Clamato, which were the only kind of Micheladas I've ever had. But for Rick, I thought we should have the original. The one that started it all.

Micheladas
(Recipe from RickBayless.com)

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon bottled hot sauce (Valentina brand is best)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Jugo Maggi (It's a seasoning sauce)
  • 1 cold beer (I used a 355 ml. bottle of Corona)
  • Limes
  • Salt

Fill the mug with ice cubes. Add the lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Jugo Maggi, and a dash of salt. (I rarely measure out the ingredients. I just add a squeeze or two of this, and a couple of dashes of that. It's really up to you. You can use however much you want of each of the ingredients.)

Slowly pour in the beer. Stir gently until everything is combined. Enjoy.


Meet the Chefs

The San Diego Food Bank’s 8th annual Chefs, Cork & Craft Gala will feature the culinary talents of 30 chefs from around San Diego County.
Get to know each chef before the big night!

Chef Sara Polczynski (Chef Chair) – Seasoned Plates

Sara is the owner/Culinary Artisan for Seasoned Plates, a full service Catering company in San Diego specializing in bringing bold flavors, bright colors, local freshness and a custom culinary experience to each and every client. Sara has been a part of the San Diego culinary scene for almost 20 years. Her story has many chapters. In the mid 90’s, as a Chef graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Sara left to train at the renowned Manele Bay Hotel in Lanai, HI and The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. Upon her return to her native San Diego, Sara was hired as the Corporate Pastry Chef for the Cohn Restaurant Group, running the pastry department for multiple restaurant concepts.

Sara Polczynski is also the owner of Sabor Imports,a small business specializing in sourcing the highest quality chef-driven food products from Mexico. All of our products are sourced from the best producers throughout Mexico. Each product has been hand crafted or harvested with such passion and
attention to detail so that your culinary creations will tell a story.

Sara’s love for teaching on the job led to a part time career of teaching in the classroom. A culinary educator since 1999, Sara currently holds the position of Associate Professor for the Baking and Culinary Arts programs for San Diego Community College – Continuing Education. It is the largest vocational training program of its kind in the US.

Over the years, Sara’s love for cooking began to expand along with her love of travel. Inspired by the family food stories of her Mexican kitchen colleagues and the early teachings of Rick Bayless on his PBS television series, an opportunity arose that changed her career path and life forever and helped shape the style and flavor profile of her cuisine. It was the beginning of an annual journey to travel and learn about regional Mexican cuisine, art and culture with influential chef mentors including Rick Bayless, Ricardo Munoz and Susana Trilling. Her most recent project utilized the knowledge, passion and techniques of authentic regional Mexican cuisine was as the Consultant Executive Chef for The Blind Burro in San Diego. Bringing authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern California flair to the people of San Diego was a dream project. Always trying to be connected to the rich culture and foods of Mexico has afforded her the opportunity to teach hands on cooking classes at the world renowned Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, MX, utilizing fresh produce grown on their on-site organic farm.

Chef Larry Banares – Viejas Casino & Resort

Chef Larry, a Certified Executive Chef brings more than 40 years of experience as chef, culinary educator, media personality, consultant and restaurateur to “America’s Finest City”. A familiar face, he appeared on ABC / KGTV Channels 10 and 15 with his popular cooking segments and hosted / produced “The County Cooks with Chef Larry” and “Chef Larry’s Cuisine” cooking shows for CTN and Time Warner television. He has appeared nationally on VH1’s “The Fabulous Life of Michael Jackson”, The Food Network’s “Roker on The Road” and on “Barbecue America” for KPBS. Internationally he has appeared on ABS-CBN and GMA TV in the Philippines. A true culinary “ambassador”, Chef Larry was heard around the world on his popular radio program, “The Chef Larry Show” on World Talk Radio and hosted local radio shows on Clear Channel and Broadcast Companies of America networks. Chef Larry has also has written a weekly food column for the Asian Reader.

Internationally recognized for his culinary accomplishments, Chef Larry was a member of the 1988, 1992 and 1996 U.S.A. Culinary Teams, winning three gold medals and a special “cloverleaf” award at the world’s most prestigious cooking competition, the “Culinary Olympics”. Chef Larry has served as Executive Chef / Food and Beverage Director for many destination hotels including the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, The Disneyland Hotel, The Queen Mary, and recently served as chef for NFL team owner Dean Spanos. He was named “Chef of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation Orange Empire Chef Association. He has cooked for numerous celebrities and dignitaries including superstar Michael Jackson, The Sultan of Brunei, entertainers Brian McKnight and Lea Salonga and Philippine Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Joseph Estrada. In demand as a speaker and consultant, Chef Larry has worked with many national restaurant chains and foodservice companies. His published work includes “New Currents in American Cuisine: Cooking with Team USA”, “Kochkunst in Bildern III & IV” and “The New American Barbecue” video / recipe book with Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.

As guest chef of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Asia’s premier luxury resort chain, Banares has showcased his signature cuisine at flagship hotels in Manila, Hong Kong and through-out Asia. He is currently the executive chef of Viejas Casino and Resort.

Chef Jonathan Bautista – Common Theory

Jonathan graduated from The Art Institute of California with an Associates of Science in Culinary Arts in 2005, and began his career at Roy’s in La Jolla as a line cook before becoming a corporate trainer and then sous chef in 2008. After five years, he moved to Kitchen 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar where he worked as sous chef until leaving to join the opening team of Michael Voltaggio’s INK in Los Angeles. He returned to San Diego as chef de cuisine of Kitchen 1540 in late 2011, overseeing the upscale resort’s entire restaurant and banquet operation. In December 2013, Jonathan was hired as the head chef of Georges at the Cove in La Jolla, California under the wing of Executive Chef/Partner Trey Foshee. There he oversaw all Culinary operations of all three levels: Georges California Modern, level 2, and Ocean Terrace.

Chef Nick Brune – Eco Caters

Chef Nicholas Brune was born and raised in the heart of “flavor country,” Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he began cooking and experimenting with food at a very young age. This hobby grew to be an obsession when he moved to New Orleans, and began working at Mr. B’s Bistro. After working for the Brennen Family for two years, Chef Brune became infatuated with the flavor and design of food.

Chef Brune then moved to Los Angeles and worked as head chef of some of the top catering companies in the city, where he had full responsibility for coordinating all aspects of the kitchen for some of the biggest events in LA. He quickly discovered his passion for catering private and corporate events of all sizes and budgets. Adding to his already burgeoning resume, Chef Brune introduced his personal chef skills and talents to a wide array of clientele, including celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. Chef Brune Co-Founded Eco Caters in 2007 alongside Adam Hiner to bring fresh, seasonal, organic food to the tables of events throughout Southern California. In 2011, Brune and Hiner opened a new restaurant in San Diego called Local Habit.

Today, Chef Brune has dedicated his talents to creating artful, seasonal, organic dining experiences that are full of flavor and zest.

Chef Ryan Bullock – MIHO Catering Co.

As a proven leader in the San Diego culinary scene, Chef Ryan Bullock first brought his diverse restaurant experience to the world of catering as the Executive Chef of MIHO Catering Co. in 2014.

Chef Ryan’s love for cooking and apt for creativity in the kitchen were inspired by his father and grandparents during his upbringing in Midland, Michigan. His knack for cooking began when he started working at his father’s restaurant at the age of 13. At age 19, Chef Ryan moved to San Diego to pursue his culinary passion, and nearly 15 years later, he has honed his skills in the city’s top kitchens.

Upon his move to San Diego, Chef Ryan joined Bertrand at Mister A’s where he perfected the finer points of French cuisine. In 2009, Chef Ryan joined Whisknladle, where he worked his way up the ranks and eventually opened the beloved PrepKitchen in Del Mar. There, he was named one of 2011’s Top Five Rising Chefs in the U.S. by Gayot.

Known most notably for his time with Brian Malarkey at Enlightened Hospitality, and Matt Gordon’s Solace and the Moonlight Lounge, Chef Ryan was the Chef de Cuisine for both of these popular eateries. He further cemented his reputation as a rising star in the San Diego culinary scene as the Executive Chef of Encore Champagne Bar and Dining Room in San Diego’s Gaslamp.

Chef Ryan is leading MIHO Catering Co. in the mission of reinventing the catering experience with an unprecedented combination of hand crafted cuisine and exceptional service now as their Culinary Director. He naturally embodies a passion for locally sourced ingredients, a foundation of French techniques, and a love of diverse worldly flavors.

Chef Joe Burns – Waters Fine Foods & Catering

Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Hilton Head Is, SC. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Charleston Campus Class of 01 w/ an associates degree in Baking & Pastry Arts. Joe got his culinary start at the prestigious Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC after graduating from Johnson & Wales. His first pastry chef position was at the historic Beaufort Inn in Beaufort, SC. Upon arrival to San Diego Joe had the pleasure of working at the award-winning restaurant Georges at the Cove under the guidance of Chef Trey Foshee. The original pastry chef of Whisknladle, Chef Joe worked closely with Chef Ryan Johnston to promote the concept of farm to table.

Using fresh local and sustainable ingredients and making everything from scratch. After Whisknladle, Chef Joe moved on the Pamplemousse Grille in Solana Beach. Known as one of the original fine dining restaurants in San Diego, Chef Joe had the privilege of working under the very talented Chef Jeffery Strauss. While there, Chef Joe helped create the chocolate company Le Petit Mousse Chocolates where he came up with recipes for their unique gourmet chocolate dipped caramel line. Chef Joe left the Pamplemousse Grille in 2013 to join the culinary team and head up the pastry department at the renowned catering company Waters Fine Foods & Catering. In 2015, Chef Joe co-founded WooBar – a concept/dream he has been working on since 2008, chocolate dipped frozen cheesecake bars. And yes, his name really is Joe Pastry!

Chef Evan Cruz – Arterra

Evan Cruz, an aspiring young chef, was born in the Philippines and raised in San Diego California. At a young age, he recalls learning how to cook in his grandmother’s kitchen cooking rice, rolling Lumpia (Filipino spring rolls), cutting fish, cleaning vegetables. He discovered his fascination with the culinary arts starting as a prep cook and dishwasher at the age of 15. Learning and working hard he worked his way up to sous chef by the age of 19. From there, he found himself in the midst of glamorous city lights of Las Vegas.

Not feeling satisfied and wanting to educate himself further, in 2000, he enrolled and graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. In 2001, missing home, he found himself back in San Diego and becoming the executive chef/partner at Roy’s La Jolla. With that “seven year itch” in 2007, Evan left Roy’s to start his own catering company “Exclusive Chef Catering/Consulting”.

Still wanting more of a challenge and missing cooking for guests in 2010 he found himself at finding that passion and love at “Pacifica Del Mar”. With Chris Idso moving into a new position as general manager, this created a perfect symbiotic relationship where both chefs have the love and passion for using fresh local ingredients, sustainable seafood with focus, love and passion for California coastal cuisine.

At the end of 2011, Looking to further his experience and knowledge Evan took on the position as Executive Sous Chef for the prestigious L’auberge Del mar Hotel and Resort. In the beginning of 2013, He found a great opportunity to work with another James Beard Award winning chef with Chef Bernard Guillas at the majestic La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. With a phenomenal opportunity from Arterra and The San Diego Marriott Del Mar, Evan found himself taking the helm of Executive Chef at landmark Carmel Valley hotel.

When discussing his food, Chef Cruz remarks “I believe that food is inspired by understanding the bounty of San Diego. From the seafood rich oceans of Baja California to the fertile farms of the Imperial Valley, my cuisine has developed with a local-centric view and global influences. To me a chef is just like any artist, you want them to leave you with an impression of their soul.”

Chef Amy DiBiase – Vistal

Known for taking Californian style to Italian and French cooking, Amy DiBiase is among San Diego’s most respected chefs. She’s spent more than 10 years in various local kitchens from Tidal to The Shores, and has accumulated many awards and accolades along the way.

Chef Max Farina – Zafferano Catering

At Alma, one of the top three culinary schools in the world, Chef Max Farina learned the subtleties and traditions of haute cuisine. He found a mentor in the Milanese two-star Michelin chef Claudio Sadler, considered a maestro of modern cooking techniques and artistic plating. With Chef Salder’s guidance, Farina honed his skills while refining his techniques.

Farina subsequently continued his quest in perfecting his talents by working aside two-star Michelin chef Andrea Aprea. Chef Aprea had previously trained under the tutelage of renowned Chef Heston Blumenthal of London. Chef Aprea focused on the finer techniques and emotional characteristics of haute cuisine, which added finesse to Chef Farina’s creations.

After relocating to San Diego in 2011, chef Max presented fine cuisine as a sous chef at BICE restaurant in the Gaslamp District. He quickly acclimated to what he considers the excellence of the San Diego lifestyle. His years of study under world-renowned chefs, coupled with his creative genius in the art of preparation and a desire to share his passion of serving on the finest of Italian cuisine culminated in Chef Farina launching Zafferano Catering.

Chef Tommy Fraioli – 10 Barrel Brewing

Growing up, Tommy Fraioli was always in the kitchen helping his dad and grandparents cook. Coming from a Greek and Italian background, food is a major part of his culture. Eating and preparing delicious food was a daily activity. He’d often lend a hand at church functions when they needed a help in the kitchen. His first experience with restaurants came after graduating from high school, working at a local eatery called Café Deva. He loved everything about it. When Chef Fraioli moved to San Diego to attend college, he took a position with Boudin Bakery. He subsequently worked at various other restaurants, including Bing Crosby’s Restaurant and Piano Lounge, where he worked up to sous chef.

He joined the staff at Sea Rocket Bistro in 2011, where he had the opportunity to create incredible dishes with food from locally sourced ingredients. Chef Fraioli recognizes participating with fellow San Diego chefs in ChefDance at the Sundance Film Festival as a highlight in his career. Chef Fraioli loves experimenting with food, but also enjoys simplicity. Chef Fraioli is the current executive chef of the 10 Barrel Brewery East Village location.

Chef Gina Freize – Venissimo Cheese

After visiting her parents’ home in Austria while growing up, Gina often wondered why America didn’t have fabulous cheese shops. Hence, Venissimo Cheese was born. In 2004, Gina opened the first Venissimo Cheese in Mission Hills, intending to do for cheese what Starbucks did for coffee. Since then, she has opened neighborhood shops in Del Mar, North Park and Liberty Station. “Soon the camembert will be as well-known as the cappuccino!” says Gina.

Gina has created an app and library of more than 2,000 domestic and international cheese varieties! And yes, she has tasted all of them. She can tell you the type of milk, country of origin, production methods, plus perfect wine, beer and food pairings for each one.

Over the years while visiting both domestic and international cheesemakers in her quest for the title of “Cheese Wiz,” she has learned about the pure goodness and joy of artisinal foods.

Gina is a member of the American Cheese Society and established an Academy of Cheese (AoC), Southern California’s first official cheese school with upwards of five classes and events each month. She is the host of Noon on Tuesday, a weekly podcast all about cheese, all of the time

Next up is a cheese cookbook featuring delicious cheese recipes from nearly every country in the world. Plus watch for her new lifestyle video series Fear Less, Try More.


Missing Order of the Aztec Eagle

Placa Orden Aguila Azteca

After all these years, after a hundred and a half MexConnect columns about Mexico, most of them favorable, I have not yet been invited into the Order of the Aztec Eagle.

Past presidents of this colorful country could have done it with a wave of the magic wand. The present leader needs only speak the words – West next.

The Order of the Aztec Eagle is a distinction that only foreigners can receive, in recognition of services to the country or all of humanity. The prize comes in different shapes – collar, sash, medal, venera.

My qualifications? I am a foreigner, with a lasting appreciation for Mexico and a home on Lake Chapala, near Jocotepec, in the very interesting state of Jalisco. Taxes are paid. Our other pesos go into the economy. We try to be good neighbors because we have good neighbors all around.

OK, I hear your screams. I suppose it is debatable whether my considerable contributions are greater than the warmth and kindness I have received.

I must say Queen Elizabeth II was honored. I’m not sure what she has done beyond being born to royalty. King Juan Carlos I of Spain got the Aztec Eagle for, most likely, old times sake.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was recognized. I understand that. He prevented World War II from coming ashore.

Paul David Hewson has an Eagle. You might know him as Bono. So, he sang on key. Mostly.

The Order of the Aztec Eagle has been awarded to Rick Bayless. Of course you know him. He was the champ of Top Chef Masters on Bravo TV, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine.

I applaud this choice. For years, I am told, Bayless has maintained one heck of a show, “Mexico, One Plate at a Time” on PBS. He has written a bunch of cookbooks far removed from Taco Bell. Two of his restaurants in Chicago, Frontera and Topolobampo, demonstrate night after night how really good is Mexican food.

Rick Bayless

Bayless is big time. In 2010, he answered the call to Washington to prepare the state dinner in honor of Mexico President Felipe Calderón. I wasn’t there but rumor has it that he offered Oregon Wagyu beef in Oaxacan black mole.
You didn’t know that I knew Oregon Wagyu is make-believe Kobe.

I also know that the Wagyu and mole were good enough to get the attention of Barack Obama. The prez chose Topolobampo for dinner when in Chicago. Free food will draw a crowd.

The Aztec Eagle declaration certificate says the honor to Rick was because of his “important work” in promoting and disseminating one of the most internationally recognized cultural expressions of Mexico, cooking.

It says Rick “revealed the variety and sophistication” of Mexican chow, changing its image from tacos to gastronomy.

Right about here, a disclaimer is in order. Skip Bayless, ESPN personality, former sports columnist, is Rick’s brother. Without Skip, I might have missed Rick. I do not do Mexican restaurants in Chicago and I do not watch cooking shows on TV.

I found out what I was supposed to already know. The Bayless boys came from a restaurant family in Oklahoma City. Their parents operated Hickory House Barbecue.
Rick was a student Thespian. He considered an acting career while at the University of Oklahoma.

He made the right choice. He earned recognition. He developed Mexico expertise by travelling widely and getting to know regional dishes. He obviously told the story with a flare. He has the Order of the Aztec Eagle as proof.

Rick Bayless is far more than a TV chef, cookbook author and wealthy owner of restaurants. He does dinner theater stage production. He can sing and dance. He does yoga. He is a great gardener. He is legendary as a party host.

You want real background? Rick’s grandmother taught him to cook. Her philosophy was food brings love and family together. Her peach pie was a favorite.
A Julia Child cookbook baited the trap. Rick says he grew up idolizing her. He used the term “star-struck.”

Perhaps you have concluded why Bayless has an Eagle and I don’t. I admit I can’t dance. I don’t do yoga and I still believe doughnuts are fattening.


Rick Bayless' Deep Dish Peach Cobbler

Chicago-based Chef Rick Bayless may be best known for elevating authentic Mexican cuisine in the States, but on his new radio show, Fiesta at Rick's on SIRIUS XM's Martha Stewart Living Radio, the Oklahoma City native shared that one of his all-time favorite food memories is of peach cobbler - just about as American as apple pie.

As with so many long-lasting family recipes, eating a perfect peach cobbler conjures up cherished childhood memories for Bayless. "Some flavors and dishes are so thoroughly intertwined with a place and a moment that they all become one." During the live launch of Bayless's show from the SIRIUS Studios in midtown Manhattan, Bayless brought us back to the sweltering Julys of 1960s-era Ardmore, Oklahoma, with his "bodacious" Grandma Gladys -- known for her bright red hair, slinky dresses, and pointy tailed Cadillac. The nine grandchildren in Bayless' family would hand-pick blushing golden peaches and pile them into half a dozen bushel baskets in the back of the Caddy. Over the next 4 or 5 days, the family worked to can, pickle, preserve and jam the peaches, to be revisited every Sunday throughout the year with a different recipe.

Bayless shared with us his treasured deep-dished double crusted peach cobbler recipe, and passes it on from his family to yours.

For the dough:
2 2/3 cups (13 oz) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz) cold butter, cut into small pieces, kept chilled
Two 3-oz packages cream cheese, cut into small pieces, kept chilled
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons cold tap water

For the filling:
5 pounds ripe peaches, or enough to make 6 cups of ½ inch peach cubes
1 to 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling over lattice crust
5 tablespoons cornstarch
A generous 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
A little milk for brushing over crust
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1. Make the cobbler crust:
Measure flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt into a food processor. Add the chilled butter and cream cheese to the processor. Attach lid and pulse 6 or 7 times (1 second pulses) until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Uncover and evenly drizzle vinegar and water over mixture. Attach lid and pulse about 6 times until mixture begins to clump together - it won't form a ball. Uncover and turn dough out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Press pieces of dough together, gather plastic wrap over top, then flatten into a 10x10-inch square. Refrigerate 1 hour.

2. Prepare the filling.
Place peaches in a bowl or bowls large enough to hold all of your fruit. Pour very hot (but not boiling) water over top the peaches, and let stand for 1 minute. Drain off water. Peel peaches, discarding the skins. Cut peach flesh away from each pit, and section peaches into 1/2 inch cubes. Measure out 6 cups of peach. In a large bowl, toss together peaches, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, lemon or lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Assemble the cobbler.
Preheat oven to 400F, and position a shelf in the center. Remove dough from refrigerator. Unwrap and, using a knife, cut off 1/3 of dough. Re-wrap and refrigerate that 1/3 piece. Evenly flour work surface and remaining 2/3 of dough. With a rolling pin, roll dough into an 18x14-inch rectangle. Drape dough into a 13x9-inch glass baking dish, easing dough all the way into corners and allowing a little to hang over the top rim of the dish. Refrigerate dough-line baking dish. Re-flour work surface and evenly flour remaining 1/3 of dough. Roll dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle Cut lengthwise into ten 1-inch strips. Brush top edge of overhanging dough with a light coating of milk - just enough to make it sticky. Remove the dough-lined baking dish from the refrigerate and pour fruit mixture into the pan. Dot remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the filling. Lay 4 strips of dough at even intervals lengthwise over fruit. Lay the remaining strips of dough at even intervals crosswise over fruit, creating a lattice. Use fork to seal strips to moistened edges. Trim off any overhanging dough. Brush lattice with milk, and sprinkle with a little sugar.

4. Bake the cobbler.
Bake 15 minutes at 400F. Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for 30-40 minutes longer until fruit mixture is thick and bubbling and crust is browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving, or cool completely and re-warm.

Chef Rick Bayless will host the live show Fiesta at Rick's, as an exclusive five-week series on SIRIUS XM's Martha Stewart Living Radio on Wednesdays at 7pm ET through August 11th.


Interview with Top Chef Rick Bayless

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless has probably done more to introduce authentic Mexican cuisine to Americans than anyone else on the planet. You&rsquove seen him on cooking shows like Top Chef and maybe own one of his cookbooks.

We had a chance to visit with the celebrity chef for a quick video/phone interview. He talks about growing and eating organically&mdashand gives us a first-hand look at an exclusive Rick Bayless recipe for Mexican-style Chipotle Shrimp. Plus, he clues us in on what President Obama likes to order when he dines at Bayless’s Topolobampo restaurant.

Bill Bailey

Senior Writer, The Food Channel A graduate of the University of Missouri’s prestigious School of Journalism, Bill has more than 35 years experience in the advertising industry. Joining Noble Communications in 1982, he has spent most of the past 25 years writing for food clients, including Tyson Foods, Borden Cheese, Quaker Oats, Campbell’s Soup, and Smucker’s among many others. As perhaps his chief claim to fame, Bill created the brand name, “Snackwell’s,” for Nabisco—which went on to become one of the most successful new products of the ’90s. As Senior Writer for The Food Channel™, Bill’s responsibilities include content development, writing and editing. He is a frequent contributor of feature articles, interviews, social commentary, and reviews of food-related media.


Watch the video: Chef Show (August 2022).