Rick Bayless Blocks Mexican-Food Blogger Bill Esparza from Following His Twitter Account

Any of the more than 108,000 followers celebrity chef Rick Bayless has on Twitter knows that the U.S.'s most-famous cook of Mexican food spent the weekend in Baja California, scoping the scene for his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time. "Super-busy scouting n Baja morn2nite 4 season 8 of Mexico:1 Plate@aTime. Gr8 Food here. Stunned I didn't know the breadth of it!" Bayless tweeted on Feb. 11, one of more than 20 tweets he's sent out since arriving in Baja.

Bill Esparza knew about Bayless' plans. He's a professional saxophonist by day, but he has a cult following for his Street Gourmet LA, on which he documents Mexican food in Southern California and Mexico with a style unsurpassed in regional knowledge and ability to scope out treasures. He's also the man who has drawn more attention to Baja California's culinary scene outside the fish taco than any American over the past couple of years, organizing culinary tours for bloggers and even filming an episode of Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern. Esparza also has no love lost for Bayless--but we'll get to that in a bit.

Curious to see what Bayless was up to, Esparza looked up the chef's Twitter feed on Saturday and found the following message:
Could not follow user: You have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user.

Bayless, think-skinned? Nah . . .

"I have to say, I feel special," Esparza told the Weekly. "Out of the more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, Rick blocks me!" Esparza had followed Bayless on Twitter for months, even up to a couple of weeks ago, and he has no clue why Bayless would boot him now. Bayless didn't block him after Esparza wrote a withering review of his Red O in early August of last year. Bayless didn't block Esparza after trashing him in the comments section of my post revealing how LA Weekly's Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold took issue with Bayless' claim Red O would introduce "real" Mexican food to Southern California.

Esparza is not taking the blocking lightly. "He's only tasted my Anaheim chile," he said. "The habanero is coming."

A tweet to Bayless asking for comment has not been returned, but if Bayless were willing to lambaste Gold, heaven knows what he'll have to say about Esparza.
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21 comments
Val
Val

I doubt that Rick Bayless' blocking of Bill Esparza has anything to do with said Mr. Bayless not wanting Mr. Esparza to know what he's doing - what Rick Bayless is doing is hardly a matter of national security. I'm guessing that Bayless figures that if someone takes a dump on your front porch, you're not likely to invite him into your home. Seems like somebody really needs to let this thing go - this adolescent grudge is tiresome, and certainly not newsworthy.

Censored by OC Weekly
Censored by OC Weekly

You guys at the OC Weekly are such pussies and hypocrites. You allow Gustavo to run rampant, insulting many readers. You talk about people being too thin skinned and the freedom we have to be able to express yourself. You talk about how people should not insult people as you let your assclown of an Editor continually attack readers

Then you ban me from the comments.

Its awesome that Gustavo could not hold his own and rather than address the issues raised, OC Weekly had to censor the commentary.

What are you? Communists?

-Diamond Dog

WaleedI
WaleedI

I think both Bill and Rick are both douchebags. There is an arrogance or unappealing facade when either of them open their mouths. However, I have found better Mexican food reading Bill's blog than I have eating at Rick's restaurants. Off to Topolobampo later this year, so we'll see if that changes. Also, Rick's brother is ESPN analyst Skip Bayless...also a douchebag.

Thefool333
Thefool333

did anybody here consider that maybe rick didn't know about this and maybe someone else, like a publicist or something, blocked it?

also, typo: looks like you meant to write "thin" skin instead of "think" skin

foodgps
foodgps

It clearly wasn't worth it for Bayless to block Esparza from viewing his tweets. He could have saved himself a lot of grief and two Weekly articles, but then we wouldn't have had Esparza's hilarious chile line.

I'm interested to see/hear what happens when Esparza and Bayless finally meet in person, which is inevitable. They were both in Baja at the end of last week. It could have easily happened then.

And is Barentw a pseudonym for Bayless? Hmm...

Greg
Greg

I don't understand what blocking his Twitter account does if you have a public profile. Bill can just log out of his name, then check up on Bayless.

Christian
Christian

I don't know what blocking accomplishes. If you want to read Rick Bayless' tweets you just go to his Twitter page. Would love to see these two meet and come to some kind of understanding.

Bill is a great guy who knows a ton about Mexican food and has even higher standards about what constitutes "authentic" than Gustavo does; so high, in fact, that Bill has said that I have never had real Mexican food in my life. While I am pretty sure I have had real Mexican food at least once in my life, if not dozens or hundreds, there's still know getting around the fact that Bill knows his stuff.

As far as Rick Bayless goes he is all about marketing himself and, hey, that's what we have to do sometimes. Doesn't make him the devil. I've heard a couple people say that recipes in some of his cookbooks were not thoroughly tested and that maybe he doesn't know enough about the food of such-and-such a region of Mexico or whatever but I don't think that renders all his knowledge totally useless.

If I feel like watching Bayless' PBS show then I watch it (have seen it I think a grand total of three times; I just don't watch TV that much period) and if I feel like reading Street Gourmet LA then I read it. I don't take Rick and Bill and decide which one gets the devil horns and which one gets the angel halo.

Barentw
Barentw

Esparza is good at getting press. Too bad he knows nothing about food..

hw2084
hw2084

I agree. Esparza might be right that Red O might be terrible, but I can't really blame Bayless for blocking him. When somebody talks a bunch of shit about you, it's kind of natural to distance yourself from them. Isn't it? Maybe he didn't want to see any reply tweets from him, and have to see Esparza's byline all the time. Who knows?

Incidentally, I think Bayless exaggerated or misspoke when talking about bringing South and Central Mexican food to SoCal, but Gustavo's, Esparza's and Gold's comments seem a bit harsh. Those cuisines are available in SoCal, but they're hardly commonplace. Bayless probably should have said something more like he wanted to showcase an underrepresented side of Mexican cuisine, which is probably more or less what he meant. It seems that critics have taken a stray comment and blown it up to a full-blown nuclear food war.

streetgourmetla
streetgourmetla

I think Rick has also found better restaurants reading my blog,too. By the twitter count, the show is looking like very similar content, which is great. Rick has been going to Baja in recent years but was stuck in the 90's Baja; he never talked about Baja's incredible street food scene 'til now. Rick isn't picking these places, his fixer is, and the fixer is the one that lifts the material. The chefs are internationally known, and would also be recommending street stands.

Glad you're able to find some good spots on my blog,you should really hit up the places in Mexico. You can also preview Rick's upcoming Baja episode on my blog.

The rest, don't really care, criticism, name-calling,it's all great!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Gotcha on the think, but Rick is famous (and rightfully so, and to his credit) for being obsessive with his twitter...

Christian
Christian

That's a possibility we need to keep in mind. I am aware of other celebrities whose "people" have done things with their Twitter account that maybe were not exactly what the celebrity would have done.

Christian
Christian

I've tried to edit the spelling error in my comment above but the Edit function isn't working.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Wow, have you got your facts wrong.

I don't dislike Bayless, and he was the catalyst to exploring Mexican food beyond "combinación número cuatro" for me and thousands of others. I don't think he's clueless or wrong, just he got up my nose with the Red O nonsense.

But to say Esparza knows nothing just tells me you're making a snap judgment without backup by facts. I've learned more about Mexican food from Esparza than from Bayless and anyone else combined.

Thanks, anonymous Internet troll!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Without presuming to speak for Gold, Esparza and Arellano, I think it seems clear that their point is that these foods ARE commonplace; they're just not known by the Anglo community.

You have a point about "underrepresented" being a better choice of phrasing, because that they are: islets of regional Mexican food drowning in a sea of pocho combo-plate restaurants.

Val
Val

OK, I'll take your word on it. Just my 2 cents...

foodgps
foodgps

Bayless should be obsessive with his Twitter account. As this post shows, Twitter is a powerful extension of brand, and he's certainly in tune with branding. So it could have been an assistant who blocked Esparza, but we'll never know. The result's the same.

Diamond Dog
Diamond Dog

"Thanks, anonymous Internet troll! "

Come on Dave. You know I respect you incredibly. I don't even disagree with the point you are trying to make. Don't let Gustavo rub off on you. you are intelligent enough not to have to resort to the name calling that the leadership of this blog does.

You are better than the leaders of this blog and you can see Gustavos impact on the downfall of the writers. Rise above and don't become one of them!

You can stand on your own and you have so much to offer.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

I just have to wonder if people would write such things if anonymity weren't possible. A bash against someone is much more meaningful to me when the person has the strength of character to put his or her real name to it.

That's not channeling anyone, and even if it is, so what? That's good, old-fashioned American values right there. Say what you want, but be responsible for what you say.

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