Born in Oklahoma City, to a family of grocers and restaurateurs best known for their down-home barbecue, Top Chef Masters season-one winner Rick Bayless has established himself as one of America’s foremost authorities on Mexican cuisine, translating more than three decades of research and in-kitchen experience into a multimedia culinary empire, locally represented by the Frontera Fresco restaurant in Union Square.
This past weekend, Bayless, the more soft-spoken brother of former San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Skip, visited the Sunset Magazine campus in Menlo Park to share cooking tips and samples of his award-winning dishes with Chase Sapphire cardholders attending the 14th annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, two days of gourmet foods and fine wines.
Life without margaritas would be a dismal one. As everyone's favorite tequila drink, it's a mainstay at parties, bars and on beaches. But just a few years ago, they were far from popular.
We have celebrity chef and recent Top Chef Masters contestant Rick Bayless to thank for changing that. He's has been championing Mexican food and its perfect companion the Margarita for decades.
Perhaps we should use the age-old "what I did on my summer vacation" construct, with the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen standing in for "summer vacation." Or, to borrow a phrase from Commis chef James Syhabout, who was being honored as one of Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs, "It's like spring break for rich, old people." Indeed. By 5:45 p.m. on the first night, women in staggeringly high heels clutched to their mates and to the banisters of each stairway, the effects of French 75s and altitude (Aspen is at about 10,000 feet above sea level) conspiring to make them a bit tipsy.