Celebrate La Cucina Mexicana this Summer with Chef Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless demonstrates how to make Mexican cuisine approachable and easy

Macy's Culinary Council

Chef Rick Bayless for Macy's Culinary Council

As much as France, Italy, and China, the cuisine of Mexico is defined by its regional foods, cooking styles, and culinary traditions. Every direction of the compass reveals a cuisine that is alive with color, flavor, and inventive recipes that celebrate the local products. For almost 30 years, chef Rick Bayless has tapped into this rich trove of food and drink and shared his discoveries with Americans.

In his unofficial role as Mexico’s culinary ambassador, he has shown us just how complex, varied, and exquisite Mexican food is; and perhaps more importantly, he has taught us what it is not. As we continue to learn about the dozens of regional styles of tacos, tortas, and other classic dishes, we connect with this diverse cuisine in new and exciting ways. And thankfully, we have chef Rick Bayless as our guide.

His restaurants, TV shows, books, and cooking demonstrations are popular and jammed with eager fans because he makes Mexican cuisine approachable and easy to cook at home. When summertime arrives, the fresh, clean, unadorned food from South of the Border is perfect fare for any family meal, outdoor party, or barbecue.

The Macy’s Culinary Council has played a role in helping Rick Bayless spread the good word about great Mexican food, and as an active member he uses his demonstrations to entice people to cook more at home and incorporate Mexican cuisine into their menu planning. His recipes are proof the entire family can help in the kitchen, thanks to his emphasis on keeping things simple and on building flavor rather than creating complicated preparations.

The Macy’s Culinary Council: An organization that supports American cooks

With chef Rick Bayless’ emphasis on easy cooking, is it any wonder his cooking show is shot in his home kitchen? He enjoys cooking at home and always offers helpful tips on how to save time in the kitchen, simplify a recipe, and how to be a better cook. He demonstrates, graphically, that Mexican cooking doesn’t require a lot of complicated equipment, but does point out there are some kinds of equipment that are valuable because they save time and relieve cooks from tedious tasks. When he needs a special tool he heads to Macy’s for top quality cookware that will last and make cooking more fun.      

With its focus on vibrant flavors and refreshing touches of citrus, Mexican cuisine seems designed for warm weather parties, and if you want to see chef Rick Bayless demonstrate a few of his super summer dishes, you can attend his upcoming cooking  demonstration, and sample his recipes, on June 29 at Macy’s on State Street in Chicago.  

What’s on the Menu

 In keeping with the joys of summer dining, Rick will be demonstrating grilled tostadas with bacon, avocado mayo, and heirloom tomatoes; spicy, garlicky grilled cauliflower (steaks) with browned butter, toasted nuts and tequila; mango ricotta cheesecake; and tangy cucumber-mint cocktail. When asked about the theme, he said, “If there’s a theme, it’s about actually using all of the farmers’ market produce. Too often, we shop at the market and don’t know what to do with all of that beautiful stuff.”

He chose these recipes “…to complete a wonderful summer meal. The grilled cauliflower steak is a welcome break from all of the meat-centric backyard parties. From the first welcome bites of the tostadas, to the final bites of the cheesecake, its summertime through and through.”

All of the dishes are favorites at his restaurants, and Rick says,” There’s a version of the grilled cauliflower served at the newest restaurant, Leña Brava. At XOCO, we often serve a non-alcoholic version of the cucumber mint agua fresca.” Because the dishes are so popular and easy to make at home, Rick has included the recipes for all of them in his most recent cookbook, More Mexican Everyday.”

A Distinct Culinary Point of View

From the unique way to cook cauliflower to the comforting, homey flavors of the tostada the thread of these dishes is about making the most of seasonal produce, which is a reflection of his cooking style. None of these dishes really qualify as “comfort food” in the traditional sense because they aren’t overly indulgent. They are, however, well-balanced, wholesome dishes that will leave you feeling great, which are the heart of Rick’s cooking and the cuisine of Mexico.

Cook like a Chef with Easy Recipes

Rick says the dishes featured in his demonstration are easy for home cooks to make, and he stresses,Beginners can absolutely make these dishes! Nothing that’s called for in the recipes is hard to find, and the preparations are pretty straightforward. The book these recipes come from, More Mexican Everyday, is about putting great flavors within reach for the everyday cook.

Cook at Home Like a Chef

Rick considers some preparations or dishes essential to Mexican cuisine and he believes there are few every home cook should learn and master. He says, “Roasting chiles and making salsas are a good place to start. Roasting brings out deeper, more resonant flavors. There are also numerous ways to incorporate salsas into recipes (and not just as a topping for tacos.) If you want to incorporate home cooked meals into your regular menus Rick suggests, “It takes a few things: basic knowledge of cooking equipment, advance preparation and focus.” Try his favorite, easy comfort food for a start, which he says is, “Huevos a la Mexicana. It’s probably the fastest meal I know how to make.”

He also suggests, “Don’t be intimated by the sheer number of recipes that are out there. Instead, find a cookbook that you like and start there. Cooking is supposed to be fun, not a burdensome task.” And his tips for getting kids to cook with their parents? “I think kids should be in the kitchen from the very beginning. They can learn so much. Bring them to a garden, too! Here’s a quick idea: get some popsicle molds, fill them with a mix of coconut milk, and add a few shaves of lime zest and sugar. Freeze, and then enjoy!”

Rick says, “You don’t need special equipment to make Mexican food. Start with the basics: good quality cookware, a few nice knives and a high-speed blender.”

2016 Macy’s Culinary Council Cooking Demonstration in Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 2016

Event Details and Special Offers

Date: June 29, 2016

Time: 12:00 PM

Venue: Macy’s on State Street, Chicago, Illinois

Location: Culinary Studio, 7th Floor

Price per person: Free

Join Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Rick Bayless for a special summertime cooking demonstration! Learn from the Master Chef as he shares tips on how to prepare some of his favorite award winning summertime dishes. The best part? There will be plenty of scrumptious samples to enjoy! After the demo, head down to the lower level, and explore the latest in cookware and gadgets for your kitchen. With any purchase of $35* or more in the Home Department, Receive a $10 Macy’s Gift Card, and a copy of More Mexican Everyday, Which Chef Bayless will sign directly after the Event.**

To RSVP please call 1-800-329-8667. Learn more about the Culinary Council and upcoming events by logging on to macys.com/culinarycouncil and follow us on Twitter @culinarycouncil

Event subject to cancellation or change. Seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis. *Purchase must be made at Macy's on State Street on June 29, 2016. ** Gift card valid June 29 - July 6, 2016 only. One per customer, while supplies last and time permits. Gift card and books distributed on June 29th.

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