This spring, award-winning chef and author Rick Bayless of the Frontera Grill Chicago will be the featured chef at the inaugural FOOD & WINE Festival held March 26-28, 2011 in Mexico's Ixtapa-Zihuantanejo. Hosted by FOOD & WINE in conjunction with the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Convention and Visitors Bureau, the event will feature Bayless and other acclaimed chefs, sommeliers and mixologists from throughout Mexico. In honor of the philosophy of "32 tastes, one history, one soul," they will host cooking demonstrations, tastings, seminars and in-depth tours of the local culinary community over the course of the three-day event.
Distinguished for his contemporary Mexican cuisine, Bayless, an Oklahoma native, is the winner of Bravo's Top Chef Masters and has received acclaim, including recognition among Chicago's Best Chefs by Chicago Magazine. He credits his passion for Mexico to studying Spanish language and Latin American Studies, as well as living in Mexico, where he wrote his cookbook, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico (William Morrow, 1987). This year, he was invited to prepare the White House state dinner in honor of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Year-round, he serves as a restaurant consultant, teaches authentic Mexican cooking throughout the United States, leads cooking and cultural tours to Mexico, and lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.
"I'm thrilled to participate in this festival and share with travelers a glimpse into the beautiful country that has inspired so much of my career," Bayless said. "In Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, you'll find a real appreciation for authentic cuisine, making this a perfect destination for the first-ever FOOD & WINE Festival in Latin America. Travelers can enjoy the bounty of a picturesque fishing village, and the unparalleled service of some of the best five-star resorts. I'm looking forward to working with the country's top culinary talent during this weekend celebration."