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Bayless Beltway Bound for DC State Dinner

By Karl Klockars in Food on May 12, 2010 8:20PM

Benjy Lipsman/Chicagoist
If the kitchens of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco seem strangely devoid of Rick Bayless in the coming weeks, you can blame President Obama. Bayless has been tapped by Obama to head the kitchen for the upcoming state dinner with El Presidente of Mexico, Felipe Calderón. The New York Times reports that the celebrity chef will be helming the kitchen on May 19th, the second celebrity chef to run a state dinner menu. Marcus Samuellson, currently receiving the arrogant-jerk-edit on this season's Top Chef Masters, cooked for the Indian Prime Minister back in November.

However, Bayless will be operating under restraints that make his TCM challenges seem like child's play. We can almost hear Kelly Choi delivering the demands now: Serve a gourmet dinner for 200 international dignitaries. All ingredients have to be ordered by the White House kitchen for security purposes. Fresh vegetables only from the White House garden. No matter where the dinner will be held, it'll be on a different floor than the kitchen. No pre-prepped sauces can be frozen and shipped, everything must be made on-site, which is why Team Bayless will be on hand days in advance to build his famed mole sauce, likely the one he made for TCM that he called "the hardest thing I've ever cooked in my life."

Finally, since everyone's going to have their eyes peeled for Salahi-esque interlopers, create a menu that will get people's attentions back on the plates. What, pray tell, will Bayless be serving with his mole? We won't know until the night in question - but if you want to recreate it, all the dishes reportedly come right off the menu of the Frontera empire.