June 15, 2012

Rick Bayless Garden Tour

This past Wednesday evening, I was fortunate enough to have attended an event hosted by Bitchin’ Nutrition at Chef Rick Bayless’ home garden.  Chicago is obsessed with this Top Chef Master winner and I was pleased to learn about his passion for cultural cuisine and home-grown, local, sustainable food.  Basically, Bayless specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine, has visited the country many times to study there, has hosted a cooking show on PBS on the subject, and has written seven cookbooks.  Bayless owns popular Chicago restaurants Frontera, Topoblabambo, and XOCO and proudly sends fresh, seasonal produce from his own garden for lucky guests to enjoy year-round. 

Our group had a tour of the garden by the head gardener who informed us of the way they maximize a small, backyard garden space to produce so much food for the restaurants.  They largely focus on high-yielding crops that can be grown in small spaces and containers such as lettuce, herbs, edible flowers, and chard.  The garden also features a beautiful arbor with grape vines winding gracefully, Koi pond, beehive, outdoor kitchen/grill, composting areas and cacti of different varieties.  Being able to visit Bayless’ personal property and to see the care with which the gardeners prepare the produce as well as the focus on sustainability was a great experience.    

After my own tomatillo escapade, I may have to get one of his cookbooks to brush up on my own Mexican cooking skills…..

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