Chef Rick Bayless is bringing his TV series “Mexico, One Plate at a Time” back to Yucatán next year. And he’s staying a while.
For the 11th season of his show, every episode will be devoted to Yucatán. Thirteen shows begin filming in March 2016.
He’s also spending time here to develop dishes for his restaurants back home.
What Bayless likes most about Yucatecan food is “its various flavors, tastes of earth, smoke, grilled wood, combinations that are very different and original,” which have been carried through to his restaurants in the U.S., where the Yucatán’s famed roast pork, cochinita pibil, “is queen.”
Bayless visited Yucatán with 22 other chefs and restaurant managers to develop their new menus, with a focus on adapting dishes such as brazo de reina, huevos motuleños and vaporcitos de x´pelon, a small steamed tamale.
His show has toured all over Mexico, introducing U.S. audiences to the “haute cuisine chefs” of Mexico City and to the more rustic foods of Baja and Oaxaca. Bayless was in Yucatán for season 5 of his program, and shared these recipes.
His hunt for flavors that are Mexican, not Mexican-American, put chaya, achiote and recado negro, which is made with charred peppers, into the spotlight.
After the press conference, Bayless and crew visited fellow Oklahoma native David Sterling, who recently wrote an epic award-winning book on Yucatán’s cuisine. Sterling, founder of the Los Dos cooking school in Mérida, guided them through the markets, where local ingredients are sold.
Bayless lives in Chicago and has six restaurants and a prepared foods business. On the side, he consults for other restaurants and teaches at the Culinary Institute of America.