Rick stopped by the studios of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me to talk Cascabel. As always, host Peter Sagal kept him
on his toes.
Frontera Farmer Foundation's annual pair of fundraising events are set for June 10. Click
for more details.
Topolobampo has been recognized as a semi-finalist for Best Service
from the James Beard Foundation. Winners will be announced May 7 in New
Check it out.
And she was just as gracious as you could hope for…. Back off, little Monsters...
Development has begun on the next book, focusing on cocktails,
guacamoles and snacks, slated to be released in the fall. Check
Starting in April, Frontera Grill has changed it's menu style to a
small plates/street food/shareable format. Very exciting update
for us, we look forward to sharing all the new dishes with you.
Check it out.
A New Look and a New Voice
I think it’s safe to say that at Frontera, we love what we
do. As a member of the sous chef team, I’ve been working to
develop dishes, test recipes, open new concepts, and support the
day-to-day managed frenzy that happens Tuesday through Saturday at 445
North Clark. And my new newsletter, More Mexican Everyday, will be your
window into my world—access to the energy and creativity of the
restaurants, more behind-the-scenes footage with Rick Bayless. But
most importantly, it will be our way of sharing with you recipes for
seasonal, easy dishes that replicate Frontera flavors from our
kitchen. Springboarding from Rick’s most popular cookbook, Mexican Everyday, you’ll get new recipe ideas each month.
A little about me...
After living, writing and cooking in Mexico for many years, I
joined the Frontera team as the private events chef in August of
2008. I was the first “official” employee of XOCO, serving as the
opening sous chef, along with Amado Lopez, and developed and tested all
of the recipes for the XOCO savory and pastry menus. I currently manage
the Grill’s interest in the hugely successful Tortas Frontera concept,
as well as serving as the research and development chef for the
restaurants, television show and books.
Rick on stage at the Lookingglass Theater Company.
Closing up Cascabel
Cascabel, Rick’s play at Lookingglass Theatre Company, is a
love story centered around a multi-course meal (that the audience of
150 eats along with the actors), performed 6 times a week with a
stipulation that each course is served to the entire audience in less
than 5 minutes. Doesn’t sound so easy, right? Lookingglass Theater’s
production of Cascabel started on March 21, but I bet you
didn’t realize we are actually crafting all of the food for the entire
run from the FG kitchens and finishing it in a satellite kitchen
backstage at Lookingglass. Even less easy, right?
Frontera’s private events chef, Zachary Steen, started his tastings
with Rick last September. Testing, refining, plating, re-plating,
problem solving—every detail has to be considered and reconsidered;
nothing can be left to chance. To make the rhythm of the meal
match the rhythm of the play, entrees have to be served at the exact
right moment, cleared with precision, all while taking care that the
food is hot, delicious and up to Frontera/Topolobampo standards.
The show has received raves from critics (click
for reviews) as well as cast members and friends—but if you ask me, the
feat of executing such an incredibly complex production with absolute
accuracy and care deserves the double standing ovation.
As guests arrive, they are greeted with a series of flavors—some
familiar, some unexpected. As the story unfolds, dish after dish is
served to the guests at Cascabel Boarding House. And, as can so often
happen when great food is on the table, people are touched deeply,
filled with memories, transformed. If you love what we do in the
restaurants, Cascabel takes it to new heights.
Technically, the entire run is sold out. If there are cancellations, Rick will be Tweeting (follow
Rick on Twitter
) with information about last minute ticket options and contact information. Stay tuned.
Guests are greeted with a signature
. The recipe is available on our website.
I've also written my riff on a
Tropical Mango Ceviche
, a course from Cascabel
, to take advantage of honey manila mango season.
Chef Andres Padilla cutting
arctic char for Topolobampo.
We love to eat fish. Unfortunately, this insatiable appetite is
outpacing the ocean’s ability to regenerate and recover naturally.
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s
program, fishermen have removed almost 90% of all large predatory fish,
and many other species are on the fast track to extinction.
Playing the active role of the responsible, educated consumer is
most of the battle. The rise of aquaculture (farm-raised seafood)
performed in a sustainable manner, in addition to well-maintained watch
lists and restaurants that adhere to responsible consumption, can all
lead to a healthier, more productive oceanic ecosystem.
Farm-raised fish and shellfish are not necessarily bad. Learn
how to ask your fish monger the right questions. Ask your
favorite restaurants to ban the preparation of any fish currently listed
on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Red List.”
One of our favorite fishmongers, Carl Galvan from Supreme Lobster, recommends:
- Midwestern farm-raised trout (Rushing Waters is a good example)
- California farm-raised sturgeon (Sterling Farms)
- Icelandic and Canadian char (Chef Andres Padilla is cutting Canadian char for Topolobampo in the photo)
- Farm-raised mussels (American Mussel Harvesters)
We also love Laughing Bird shrimp (farmed out of Costa Rica, with
)—they would be perfect in these
. It’s a good, clean product, available at a lower price point, with dynamite shrimp flavor.
Tip from the sous chefs-- we love the Seafood Watch app on our
Smart Phones. It provides easy references when we're ordering for
the restaurants or making menu decisions.
|Shaw Lash is the research and development chef for the restaurants
(Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO/Tortas Frontera), television projects,
books and editorial content.