Show 61, February 15, 2013: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach)

Rick BaylessWhen it comes to possessing a vast knowledge of the regional cooking of the various states in Mexico the recognized “el jefe” in the United States is Chicago’s Rick Bayless. Locally he’s probably best known for the PBS’s series “Mexico – One Plate at a Time” (now starting its 9th award-winning season) and from Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” In Chicago he’s a local culinary celebrity for his highly popular restaurants including River North’s Topolobampo and Frontera Grill.

Chef Bayless has created the menu for the recently opened, and much talked about, highly designed Red O in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. It’s basically his contemporary take on Oaxacan fare and other culinary regions of Mexico.

Certain dishes are exclusive to Fashion Island (including the well-received guacamole sampler) and the tequila list includes 100 selections.

Chef Bayless offers tips for preparing the perfect guacamole. He gives a lot of credit to his executive chef in Newport Beach Keith Stich. He spent two months in Chicago learning Rick’s style of Mexican cooking.