Linguistic anthropology. That's what Rick Bayless was studying before he decided he to go the chef route. Bayless, one of the nation's foremost authorities on Mexican cuisine, will be profiled at 8 p.m. Thursday on CNBC's "The Entrepreneurs" hosted by the slick Donny Deutsch. Details are here.
Bayless seems to be getting his share of the limelight lately and rightly so. Saveur heralds his Topolobampo, 445 N. Clark, as one of the nation's 12 "restaurants that matter." It also was where, earlier this month, the James Beard Foundation decided to announce the nominees for its 2009 awards (first time the foundation took the announcements on the road). Bayless and his wife were gracious hosts that morning, offering flaky guava empanadas, conchas and soothing Mexican hot chocolate.
All of it was a preview for Bayless' newest project he's calling Xoco, a casual spot opening this spring around the corner from Topolobampo/Frontera Grill, with a focus on chocolate, baked goods and Mexican tortas. With the addition of Xoco, Bayless will unofficially own the intersection of Clark and Illinois and to that we say, bueno!