Rick Bayless was born in 1953, into an Oklahoma City family of restaurateurs specializing in the local barbecue. Having begun his culinary training as a youngster, Rick broadened his horizons to include regional Mexican cooking as an undergraduate student of Spanish and Latin American culture.
After hosting the 26-part PBS television series "Cooking Mexican" in 1978-1979, Rick dedicated over 6 years to culinary research in Mexico, culminating in 1987 with the publication of his now-classic Authentic Mexican: regional cooking from the heart of Mexico (Morrow) which Craig Claiborne described as "the greatest contribution to the Mexican table imaginable."
Released in 1996, Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: capturing the vibrant flavors of a world-class cuisine, has been similarly embraced, including having been chosen Best Cookbook of the Year by IACP National Julia Child Cookbook Awards and the Chicago Tribune.
In 1999, the Baylesses along with JeanMarie Brownson released Salsas That Cook.
In 1987, the Baylesses opened the colorful, vivacious Frontera Grill in Chicago, specializing in contemporary regional Mexican cooking. In 1989 came the earthy, elegant Topolobampo, one of America’s only fine-dining Mexican restaurants.
Both restaurants have received awards and distinctions from, among others, Conde Nast Traveler, Holiday Travel, International Herald Tribune, Wine Spectator, Restaurants & Institutions (Ivy), Chicago, Playboy, Zagat, local newspapers and trade journals.
In 1995, he and partners started the extremely successful Frontera Foods line of prepared food products.