Chef Rick Bayless has had quite a year. His first restaurant, Frontera Grill, celebrated its 25th anniversary; he filmed the eighth season of his PBS show, “Mexico — One Plate at a Time”; he launched his latest concept, Frontera Fresco, at Northwestern University; he handily beat Iron Chef Marc Forgione on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”; and he tried his hand at theater by starring in the Lookingglass Theatre’s “Cascabel.”
Not that awards and accolades are new to Bayless. Since opening Frontera Grill in 1987, Bayless has been at the top of the celebrity chef spectrum, thanks to his use of authentic Mexican flavors, expertise on the cooking of the country’s various regions and his engaging personality. He also holds claim to two other restaurants, Topolobampo and the more casual XOCO, serves up to-go versions of his traditional cuisine at Frontera Fresco and has even made air travel tastier with Tortas Frontera in O’Hare airport.
Between new restaurants, new episodes and his turn on the stage, Bayless somehow found the time to publish his eighth cookbook, Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks. In it he shares his favorite recipes for the boozy beverage and offers a different guacamole recipe for every month of the year. “Whenever I ask people what they love about my cookbooks they say, ‘We love making the guacamole recipes!’ So, I decided to do my first subject-focused cookbook on margaritas and guacamoles,” he says.
Bayless shows no signs of slowing down in 2013. He’ll undertake the ninth season of his show, continue to work in his many kitchens and will launch a cookware line with Lenox.
With so much on his plate, the seasoned chef spends his Sundays relaxing and enjoying all that Chicago has to offer.
An avid yogi, Bayless starts his Sunday with a yoga class at Nature Yoga Sanctuary (2021 W. Division).
Bayless picks up a few fresh items for a spectacular brunch at home. When it’s open, he frequents the Wicker Park farmers’ market.
After working up an appetite, Bayless whips up a hearty brunch for family and friends in his Bucktown home. “Right now I am really into this easy but delicious open-face frittata, full of vegetables and topped with a little cheese.”
A fan of Chicago theater, Bayless and his wife, Deann, take in the latest productions. “I loved ‘Meta morphoses’ at Lookingglass. And I recently went to The Hypocrites theater and saw ‘The Mikado.’ It was absolutely fabulous.”
To keep up with the latest in Chicago restaurant trends, Bayless and Deann spend their Sunday nights dining out. “I really like Yusho [2853 N. Kedzie]. I don’t think enough people get how great this place is. I recently went to Tank Sushi [4514 N. Lincoln] and I loved the festive energy.”
Sundays are an early night for Bayless. So after catching up on “Modern Family” and “Dancing with the Stars,” it’s time for bed.