Mexican Honor For Rick Bayless
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless has been honored for his dedicated service to Mexican cuisine while living in America. The Mexican government has awarded him with “The Order of the Aztec Eagle.” This Mexican award, meant for foreigners, is given to those who perform extraordinary service for the country. Before Bayless, the other Americans, who had received this honor, are – Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ted Kennedy, Bill Gates, and Placido Domingo. So, Chef Bayless is in august company.
The award has renewed the debate over whether American chefs should cook other cultures’ cuisine or not. However, that is for another time.
The Frontera Café chef has been a long-time proponent of Mexican cuisine. His connection with this cuisine was visible when the White House hosted State Dinner for the Mexican President Felipe Calderon in 2010. All stops were pulled out to impress the visiting dignitary and Chef Bayless was at the center of it all. He created the “Mexican” State Dinner at the White House. The meal was so good that even President Calderon was surprised and the US media kept talking about it for days afterwards. Besides, the chef has also hosted the PBS program, “Mexico: One Plate At A Time” in which he traveled the length and breadth of the country to dig out culinary gems.
Bayless has drawn inspiration from Mexico for furthering his culinary skills for quite long and it is this symbiotic relationship was honored with the “Aztec Eagle.”
He had once said famously, “My greatest gift is that I don’t have a Mexican grandmother!” but when he came to know about the Mexican honor, he was not prepared for it. He tweeted, “Wow! Came out of blue!” when a follower brought the news to his notice. His list of accolades already contains such high honors as Food & Wine Best New Chef (1988), and three “James Beard Foundation” awards.
The official announcement of the Mexican government read, “Mr Bayless has revealed the variety and sophistication of Mexican food in the United States of America, through its television programs, books, and culinary routes that he organizes. He has over three decades spreading and promoting Mexican cuisine, changing the image that it has in the country and strengthening the image of Mexico as having one of the principal and richest cultures of the world.”