Bravotv.com: When you found out what the final challenge was, what your strategy?
I wanted to really represent those stages accurately but also keep in mind the challenge of delivering good, exciting food.
Did you have any trouble deciding what dishes you would do?
No … because I grew up in a restaurant BBQ family, I knew that my first food memory would be my home BBQ, and doing the dish with quail was updating it to the now with all of the flavors of my past. As for the experience that made me fall in love with Mexican food and want to make it my profession, traveling to Mexico and tasting black mole in Oaxaca really was life-changing. For my third dish—on opening Frontera Grill almost 23 years ago — my chef Brian and I knew right away would represent and be over-the-top. You really can’t beat Cochinta Pibil. As for our last dish — where we are now and where we are going—we (Brian and I) really wanted to bring in the food from Topolobampo, our fine dining restaurant. So we came up with the arroz a la tumbada.
Bravotv.com: Each course had a direction behind it from Kelly — how concerned were you and other chefs about making sure the courses progresed well? (light to heavy?)
I thought of the menu as a whole, even though each had to represent something. That is why I thought I could still keep my past, etc. but place it in the menu where it would fit best.
Bravotv.com: What did you think of your competitors’ dishes?
I thought Hubert and Michael were true competitors. They all had great stories, and to tell you the truth … I knew it was anyone’s game. Not for one second did I think I had it in the bag. No way.
Bravotv.com: It seemed the only criticism you received was on the last dish, and that I believe was the one with the seafood that you knew at one point was overcooked. Did you ever think about changing the dish? Yes, we did think about it … but during this contest I really did learn one BIG thing—you have to commit to your dish and go with it. The problems we had all came down to not having a clear vision about this dish from the beginning, and that is why it eventually did not work on the plate.
Did you think the seafood was overcooked when it was sent out?
Yes, and there were other problems. The plating was wrong, and there wasn’t time to fix it.
Congratulations Rick! You really did an amazing job throughout the competition. I am definitely going to pick up one of your books ;)
Congratulations Rick Bayless! I'm glad that Top Chef Masters was able to showcase your talent and your intelligence, thoughtfulness, and great personality. What impressed me too was the camaraderie that developed between you and Hubert and Michael. You deserve it!
I'm so happy Rick Bayless won.. I'm a dominican who loves Mexican food. My boyfriend and I live 50 miles apart and we meet once a week at this mexican restaurant in Bloomfield NJ. I was so excited when Rick won, I was almost cried. Good Job!!!
Congratulations! What a show and you, Hubert and Michael were amazing! Tonight was the meal of a lifetime for the lucky judges. I'm sorry the season is over - I will miss seeing you all.
Congratulations to Rick!! So wonderful that you won!
My favorite teacher at Culinary School was such a huge fan of yours and Oaxacan cuisine and taught me so much about it..I could almost taste that mole on screen..BRAVO! BRAVO BRAVO!!!!
I just finished watching the finale and I have to say that it is the most amazing competition I have ever seen on TV. From the premise of telling their story through food, to the spirit of camaraderie and the respect in which they obviously hold each other, it was one of the finest shows ever shown. At one point Michael, who is my least favorite of the three, warns Rick that the water on his corn husks is getting low. No egos, no drama, yet they were all out to win. True friendly competition - how refreshing. No back stabbing or sabotage. What a treat. I'd love to see an expanded version of this episode. I didn't even really care who won, it was just such a pleasure to hear their stories and watch them perform thier best and to see their work appreciated by all those who were priveledged to sit at the table.
The only thing that ruined it for me was the promos for real housewives of Atlanta that Bravo ran every 10 minutes advertising the nastiest fight ever seen on reality TV. Very disappointing. That trash shouldn't be allowed to share the airwaves with this show. I have it on the DVR and will have to watch it at least once more before erasing it. That way I can fast forward through the promos.
I LOVE YOU Rick Bayless!!!!! You are the kindest gentleman ever to grace the Bravo screen not to mention a true Top Chef! Thank you for taking Mexican cuisine to the forefront.
It was a pleasure seeing true Chef Masters and Gentlemen compete. I am VERY excited that Rick Bayless won, he is a GREAT artist of Mexican cuisine.
Congratulations to Chef Bayless. Not only did the mastery of his craft shone through tonight, but his overall down-to-earth personality was evidenced throughout the series. A real class-act.
The most deserving person truly won tonight. One for the good guys!!
P.S. I wouldn't have minded it that much if Chef Keller had won, though.
I'm not much of a cook (and by not much I mean barely at all) but I love Top Chef and enjoyed the Masters edition. I love food and especially Mexican food. Also, I'm half Spanish and believe ethnic fare in its traditional sense to be the most delicious.
Although your food looks amazing, it was your calm demeanor, your kindness and your patience that stood out to me. You are an inspiration to people because before anything, you are a decent human being and that I believe, helped you to succeed. Your food was rated excellent on its own but in addition, you infused everything you did on the show with good spirits and positivity. It was lovely to watch, thank you.
I am a Mexican-American who grew up with some foods no one else had heard of as well as alot of delicious offal many are afraid to eat. I have eaten some amazing things in Mexico I have never tasted before and I know what a complicated dish mole truly is and uniquely flavorful at its best. I was thrilled to see you win with the cuisine of my ancestors. Inspired from the first show, I have been experimenting and serving fresh versions of old favorites to my guests which everyone has been loving! It's so exciting. Thank you for making the competition exciting, for being generous in working with the other chefs...I loved that the camaraderie brought out the best in everyone. I watched the show late and now I'm hungry!
Watching Top Chef Masters was so very refreshing. Such a contrast to Top Chef. The Masters were humble and gracious. Top Chef contestants, take a lesson for the masters!
I love, love Rick Bayless! Throughout the show he was consistent, always on top, yet slightly short of winning. I am so excited he won he deserved it without a doubt. His love and passion for Mexican food really shows. It's great to see. I'am a Mexican-American and as they mentioned in this episode, usually only French or Italian cuisine is talked about, so I was very excited to see him and hear him talk about my culture with such a passion. So, so excited he won! Congrat's Rick Bayless
I think it is awesome that you won. I really liked your approach to every dish. I think you worked so well with everyone too. Love Mexican food...I was rooting for you so I am glad you won!
Hello Chef Bayless,
It was a pleasure to see you win Top Chef Master! I admired the fact that you always kept your cool under very difficult situations and were always the perfect gentleman. Also, I admired the fact that you always took risks with your food, and those risks paid off! Your food looks absolutely delicious, and now I am inspired to take take a trip to Chicago to try your food first hand at Frontera Restaurant. Bravo on your win! You worked very hard for it.
Rick - you're the greatest! We have loved every meal we've had at Frontera and Topolobampo, and to see you get the credit you deserve is wonderful! Also very high class to help out those Midwestern farmers - they really need it! You are also seriously cute and sexy and I have developed a huge crush on you during this series. All I can say about everything you do and are is - YUMMY!
Mr. Bayless thx 4 bring bck d level of mexican cusine deserves, i think has been lost since 70's, whn americans did consider 'mexican culture' full of autenthicy. I'm a waitress, frm Acapulco, Mexico, i used 2 live in Phoenix, AZ, and now in L.A., C.A., n i can c hw mexican food became a mix of 'inmigration problems','fast food', n cheap price. whn d real food frm Mexico takes a lot of time to get d real flavor. i jst wnt 2 say congrats n 'viva mexico'. Sarah =)
My best wishes and congratulations to Rick Bayless! I love his PBS "Mexico One Plate at a Time" series, his cookbooks, even the short chapter on his kitchen in the book "Great Chefs". A few years back I was sad to see Mr. Bayless lose the Iron Chef America competition that aired on the Food Network, and I firmly believes that Top Chef Masters, and his winning "the crown", is redemption beyond all dreams. I will always first and foremost love Mexican cuisine, and I thank Mr. Bayless for continuing to explore and express all facets of the Mexican region's foods! On a final note, it was nice to see Mr. Bayless remain humble and fun throughout the entire competition. As if it has not already been stated, his willingness to let his junior team members spread their wings a bit (the nitrogen bit) is to me the mark of a great leader.
Congratulations to Chef Rick. Watching you cook makes me want to visit Chicago... Your competition came up with some wonderful dishes too. Terrific final show!!!
Yay!!!!! The best man won. What a terrific series. I loved every minute of it. Congratulations to you, Rick. You're not only brilliant with your food, but you're just one classy guy.
CONGRATS!!!!!! Rick you are such a great guy and chef, you brought Mexican food to new heights...I was rooting for you from the beginning. I wanted that mole so bad last night I was thinking how fast could I get to you in Chicago. Well, New York must have one restaurant that can do close to you, right?? Someone out there let me know where b/c I will be there in a sec. Thank you for a great series and to your competitors Hubert and Michael who were so great as well, what a show!!!!
Congratulations, Mr. Bayless. It was a wonderful experience watching you. I hope your your quiet demeanour, graciousness and humility sets the standard for all of us who aspire to decency and fairplay. Thank you and all the other participants for a truly extrordinary series.
Congrats! I really liked your upbeat attitude throughout the season. You smiled with your eyes and your heart was big. I would have been satisfied if any of the final 3 won. You all were superior chefs.
I only wish you would open a restaurant in Boston. The only Mexican cuisine I truly liked was in Mexico. Most of the American version that I have eaten, was just spicy stuff which Margaritas were required to wash it down.
Congratulations! You are true artist and a gentleman. I enjoyed this show and felt that ti was extremely difficult to tell who would win, since all 3 of you are true masters and gentlemen. It was nice to see a competitive/reality show where everyone got along and were supportive of each other. It was very refreshing to see such amazing talent and hard work all in one kitchen. You were all wonderful. I also liked the positive attitude of the judges. It must have been quite difficult for them, as, they seemed to enjoy all of the food and appreciate all of the talent and hard work that went into it. Nice show.. Hope it comes back another season. It was also great to see all of you work so hard for such worthy charities.
Congratulations Chef Bayless! I was so impressed with this last Top Chef Masters challenge. Hearing all the stories and how you, Chef Keller and Chef Chiarello wove your life through your dishes brought tears to my eyes. Great job by all!!
Rick, You are truly an inspiration. A Class Act, true gentleman with a loving heart. Yet, you have the toughness and determination of a true competetor without the huge ego. I love Mexican food and can't wait to buy one of your cookbooks to begin learning all I can from you. Michael and Hubert, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I looked forward every week to see what would happen and was never disappointed. You chefs have proven you don't have to have an ego the size of Alaska, be nasty and obnoxious, self promoting, and sabatage the other guy to be a winner. All 3 of you made this show a joy to watch. Congratulations to all of the top chefs who competed but a special note of thanks and appreciation to Rick, Michael and Hubert. Hope to see the three of you again. Fantastic show from start to finish. Cyndi from Natick, Ma.
Watching you makes one feel like they are in a friend's kitchen and sipping coffee while you are chatting about familiar things. You are so calm and poised and your warmth exudes over the screen. Additioanlly, I was impressed with how you engaged your team in the next to last challenge. They felt good about working for you and with you. Between you and Chef Keller you repesent all that is good in the world of fine dining. Congratualtions on your compusure and professionalism. I wish I could afford to come to your restaurant but alas, I have to meagerly try to recreate your dishes at home.
I have been a fan of Top Chef since it premiered, so when I heard the premise around Top Chef Masters I was excited to watch the show. I would have been happy if any one of the three of the masters had won as you were all so great - but congrats to you Chef Rick! You all seemed like you truly got along and I thought it was great how you all seemed to help each other when needed and the lack of egos between the three of you was great!.
I only hope that the Top chef competitors can learn from the 3 of you on how to act in the kitchen. I hope Masters comes back for another season!
Congratulations Rick! I thought all three of you were amazing. I was rooting for you because your personality always shined through. You are an amazing person and amazing Chef! I wish you the best in all you do!
Congrats Chef Rick! I was pulling for you. I don't think your passion can be matched, and that's why you are such a meticulous and awesome chef. I'm very happy for you, your charity (love the cause!), and your supporters at home. And yes, I'm sure your Dad would be super proud. :)
I was a little disappointed that Hubert was cut first. I thought he was a close runner-up to you. But aside from that, the show was amazing! The talent exhibited in the final episode almost seemed like it could trump all other Top Chef shows put together. We all loved seeing what you guys can do. Thanks for a great season!
Best wishes and enjoy your win!
It was so cool to see Rick finally win after coming in second so many times. Rick, thank you for showing that Mexican cuisine isn't just tacos and burritos. You also showed your personality through your food; gracious, classy, warm with a little spice. Holy mole indeed!
Bravo Maestro !!!!
Felicidades usted es un Maestro en Comida Mexicana tiene merecido este Titulo Maestro de Maestros !!!!
Chef Bayless I am a true admire of your cuisine, I been following your career since you use to make the show for PBS, you are a true master of Mexican Food. Thank you for bringing the true taste of Mexico. Congratulations.
Chef Bayless, you were fantastic to watch on the show! I've requested all of your cookbooks from the libray and I can't wait to try some of your recipes. Felicidades!
Congratulations, Rick! I liked every chef on this show, and it was really great to see the mutual respect you had for each other. I lived in Mexico four years and ate amazing, fabulous food--from street vendors to high-end restaurants. I'm glad you brought that cuisine to this challenge!
Congratulations Mr. Bayless! My favorite from the first episode - I have had the pleasure of watching your PBS show since I was a child! Your in-depth knowledge about Mexican cuisine has always amazed me! Regards!
Well, of course Rick was going to win! Frontera is the most fantastic restaurant I've ever eaten at! Congratulations to you, Rick! Great performance throughout, and my only complaint is that you need to put frontera frescos nationwide, since I'm not in Chicago now, I miss the delicious food! (I did get some salsa, though, yum! :) Congrats!
I am glad that Rick showcased mole sauce on the most significant challenge of the season. I traveled to Cancun last year and was introduced to mole sauce and had the best tortilla soup. I have newfound respect for Mexican food then, and Rick reinforced that. Bravo, Mr. Bayless.
I think the Viva Mexico at the end of the show was uncalled for but not sure what it meant. I would like it explained so its not taken wrong.
I'd like to hear from Mr Bayless what the Viva Mexico was suppose to mean at the end of the show so its is not taken wrong.
Alas! The gentle MAN our home has admired (whose lessons I've spent years studying and implementing from his PBS shows) shares the magic of real, family & ethnic (adoptive as mine, only) cooking on the big screen!
I am so proud that he won. I favored all three finalists (good work, Top Chef Masters producers!) but Rick truly Rocks. Each time I watch him, I'm reminded of his many lessons from his family roots that he taps into. Oaxaca cooking his passion tho he now hails from my former hometown - how authentic a master he is at bringing it to us all and inspiring us to try our hand at cooking real Mexican cuisine. Bravo, BRAVO!
You had such a great humble attitude on the show, it was so inspiring to watch you cook. I also liked Hubert a lot too, though. This show was great and makes me want to try to cook more as well. Now I have to come visit your restaurant in Chicago.
Best wishes! : )
Way to go Rick!!!! I LOVED the show and was very pleased with the final three. I must admit, I was hoping you would win Rick. Mexican food has always been my favorite and does not get the respect it deserves as flavorful, exciting and coming from a beautiful culture. Congrats again Rick. You should be very proud.
Kellie in Cleveland
I don't even know what Master Chef is, but my aunt Gail was telling me about it last week and giving an enthusiastic Rick Bayless play by play. My mom Mary Lou just called me with the news that you've won. We're all about Oklahoma roots and the success of family. As for me, the best Mexican food I've ever tasted was brunch at your Frontera Grill in Chicago on a visit many years ago. After that experience, you were already Master Chef. Well done.