Celeb Spotting

Rick Bayless makes the most of a forced Houston layover: Celebrity chef roars through town

Rick Bayless makes the most of a forced Houston layover: Celebrity chef roars through town

Rick Bayless, chef, cook
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless was stuck in Houston Sunday and Monday.  Chef Rick Bayless/Facebook
Rick Bayless, Underbelly, whole-animal cooking and charcuterie, January 2013
"Unexpected day n Houston: got to eat at Underbelly! Gr8 whole-animal cooking/charcuterie.Cured Wagyu "collar"=AMAZING" wrote Bayless. Photo by Rick Bayless/Moby Picture
Rick Bayless, Hugo's, wood-grilled octopus, achiote suckling pig, January 2013
"Unexpected day in Houston: got to eat @ Hugo's. B'tiful wood grilled octopus and achiote suckling pig. Gr8 wine list" Photos by Rick Bayless/Moby Picture
Rick Bayless, Underbelly, chicken-fried chicken livers, goat dumplings
"Unexpected day in Houston: more delicious bites @ Underbelly:Chix-fried chix livers.But goat dumplings = biggest hit!" he tweeted.  Photo by Rick Bayless/Moby Picture
Rick Bayless, Hugo Ortega, January 2013
"Unexpected day in Houston: with Hugo Oretga (and crew). One of US best Mex chefs, super generous, great guy" Photo by Rick Bayless/Moby Picture
Rick Bayless, chef, cook
Rick Bayless, Underbelly, whole-animal cooking and charcuterie, January 2013
Rick Bayless, Hugo's, wood-grilled octopus, achiote suckling pig, January 2013
Rick Bayless, Underbelly, chicken-fried chicken livers, goat dumplings
Rick Bayless, Hugo Ortega, January 2013

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless and his crew made a stop in Houston on Sunday en route to Oaxaca, Mexico to film Season Nine of Mexico: One Plate at a Time — but foggy local conditions led to a canceled flight.

Rather than lie around and lament his forced layover, Bayless used the opportunity to check in on the local plant that processes his Frontera Salsa and to do what Houstonians know how to do best: Eat. 

And since Bayless wasn't able to make it to Mexico proper, he made a stop at chef Hugo Ortega's namesake restaurant, where he sampled regional specialties like Lechón (achiote-rubbed tender suckling pig with crisp skin and habanero salsa), Cachetes de Res (beef cheeks with salsa de pasilla), Cochito con Mole Xico (braised pork shoulder, mashed plantains and pasilla-dried plum sauce from Veracruz), Chipotle Chocolate Cake and much more. 

 And since Bayless wasn't able to make it to Mexico proper, he made a stop at chef Hugo Ortega's namesake restaurant.

 "Hugo and Rick have met before, many years ago, at Rick's restaurant in Chicago, and they saw and spoke with one another again last year at the James Beard Awards in NYC," Paula Murphy, a spokesperson for Hugo's, tells CultureMap. 

Ortega gave Bayless a tour of the kitchen and a copy of his cookbook; Bayless graciously posed for photographs with staff and called Ortega "[o]ne of the US best Mex chefs, super generous, great guy."

The noted chef also sampled the culinary offerings at another Lower Westheimer eatery during his surprise Houston stay. 

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