After counting down from 50 to 1, Michael Nagrant has named Rick Bayless as the Big Heat No. 1 on New City's list of the most influential people in Chicago's food and drink scene. Nagrant picked Bayless for his real "regional" Mexican food, his passion for gardening and his focus on local farms and consciously raised foods. Winning Top Chef Masters didn't hurt him much either, as now the word gets out to millions more.
Bayless tops off a pretty solid list with a top ten that included #2 Stephanie Izard, #3 Grant Achatz, #4 Rich Melman, #5 Paul Kahan, Donald Madia, Eduard Seitan, Terry Alexander, #6 Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm, #7 Graham Elliot, #8 Scott Harris, #9 Ellen Malloy and #10 Doug Sohn. The last time the list was done was in 2003 and only ten of the original list appeared in this top 50. We wonder what the list will look like in 2019.
· The Big Heat #1: Rick Bayless [New City]
· The Big Heat: Who Really Cooks in Chicago's Food World [New City]
Rick Bayless [Photo: Chew on That]