Awards and Affiliations

rick_deann_baylessFrontera sprang from Rick’s mind, his passion and ability to straddle two cultures and his love of everything that is vivid, bold and spirited. His knack for translating all things Mexican—from language to flavors to music to scholarly research—means he has brought Mexico to us, without giving up one iota of authenticity. That’s why everything he touches, we call “Frontera.”  And everything he touches has drawn praise and awards:


  • Winner, Top Chef Masters 2009 (Bravo)
  • Cooking Teacher of the Year Award 2002 (Bon Appétit magazine)
  • Humanitarian of the year 1998 (James Beard Foundation)
  • Who’s Who of American Food and Drink
  • Chef of the Year 1995 (IACP)
  • National Chef of the Year 1995 (James Beard Foundation)
  • Best American Chef: Midwest 1991 (James Beard Foundation)
  • Best New Chef of 1988 (Food & Wine magazine)
  • Best Podcast 2015: The Feed (James Beard Foundation)
  • Julia Child Foundation Award 2016
  • National Restaurant Association 2018 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award


  • “The greatest contribution to the Mexican table imaginable” is how Craig Claiborne, legendary foodwriter for the New York Times, describes Rick’s first book, Authentic Mexican: Regional cooking from the Heart of Mexico. (Morrow)
  •  Best Cookbook of the Year from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) National Julia Child Award and the Chicago Tribune for Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: capturing the vibrant flavors of a world-class cuisine.(Scribner)
  •  Mexico—One Plate at a Time was honored as Cookbook of the Year in the international division at the glittery 2001 James Beard Awards on Times Square—the “Oscars” of the food world. (Scribner)
  •  Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2005. (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
  •  Mexican Everyday was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2006. (W. W. Norton)


  • Outstanding Restaurant 2007 (James Beard Foundation)
  • Michelin Bib Gourmand (The Michelin Guide)
  • Most Popular Chicago Restaurant 2010 (Zagat)
  • Reader’s Choice: Best Mexican Restaurant 2017 (Chicago Reader)
  • Good Food 100
  • Chicago’s 50 Best Restaurants, 2017 (Chicago Tribune)


  • Best New Restaurant 1991 (Esquire magazine)
  • Outstanding Restaurant 2017  (James Beard Foundation)
  • 4 Stars (Chicago Magazine)
  • Michelin Star (The Michelin Guide)
  • Outstanding Service 2011-16, nominated. Finalist 2013, 2016 (James Beard Foundation)
  • Good Food 100
  • Award of Excellence 1990-2011 (Wine Spectator)
  • Chicago’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 (Chicago Tribune)


  • Best New Restaurant 2010 (TimeOut Chicago Eat Out Awards)
  • LEED Gold Certification (U.S. Green Building Council)
  • Good Food 100


  • Most Anticipated Restaurant, 2016 (Eater Chicago, Zagat, Chicago Tribune, Choose Chicago, Fox32)
  • Best New Restaurants, 2017 (Chicago Magazine)
  • Chicago’s Essential Seafood Restaurants, 2019 (Eater Chicago)
  • Reader’s Choice Restaurant of the Year, 2017 (Eater Chicago)
  • Top 50 Chicago Restaurants (Chicago Tribune)
  • 10 Exciting Restaurants to Watch (CS Modern Luxury)


  • Best New Cocktail Bar, 2019 (Chicago Tribune)
  • Best New Restaurants in Chicago, 2019 (The Infatuation)
  • Best New Bars in the World, 2018 (New Worlder)


  • Best New Mexican Restaurant 2007 (TimeOut Chicago Eat Out Awards)
  • World’s Top Fast Food Restaurants 2009 (Travel & Leisure)


  • Critic’s Choice Best Reason to Fly Again 2011 (TimeOut Chicago Eat Out Awards)
  • Top 10 Best Airport Restaurants 2011 (Frommer’s)