Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they’re at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe. So read on, as we bring you these answers and more — direct from the culinary masters themselves. Some of the most famous names in the industry, including legendary Michelin-starred chefs, have divulged exciting insider information and personal stories of their journey to the top just for our readers.
Restaurant: Eight in all, including Topolobampo and Frontera Grill Location: Chicago Type of Cuisine: Mexican Accolades:Three-time James Beard Award Winner, 1999 Culinary Award of Excellence, Robert Mondavi, 1998's America's Best New Chefs, Food & Wine Magazine, Season One Winner of Top Chef Masters
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
Rick: I came from a restaurant family. I never wanted to go into that business. I went away to college to study Linguistics and Anthropology—problem was, I kept thinking about food! I had visited Mexico when I was a young boy and fell in love with the culture, the food, the people. That really started me on my path to Mexican Cuisine.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
Rick: Visiting Mexico is a huge inspiration. I like to eat at all different kinds of places—from street stalls to high end.
JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?
Rick: Really knowing where your food comes from. Shopping Local.
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
Rick: Summer is the obvious choice because I live in Chicago. But there is something pretty spectacular about fall too.
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
Rick: Oaxaca, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Veracruz, so many!
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
Rick: Social media. I love to share through my Twitter account. It is really an extension of what is going on in the restaurant.
JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?
Rick: Amazing. Chicago is a premier food city.
JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?
Rick: I cook fairly simple at home—anything from the garden when I can. I don’t have a favorite. I am always moving forward with creating new things.
JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?
Rick: I love writing, I love doing television—anything to be able to communicate my passion is cool with me. I am getting ready to do my first theatre project in March!
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