Rick Bayless Insults Yet Another California City's Mexican Food Traditions

My lord, does Rick Bayless want all Mexicans in the United States to hate him or something? Back in 2010, the celebrity chef of Mexican food notoriously said Los Angeles didn't have much of a Mexican-food tradition, then denied he ever said that while trashing Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold. Now, he's trashing the Mexican-food traditions of San Francisco, which just happened to gift America with tamale men; Mission burritos; and Elena Zelayeta, the country's first celebrity Mexican chef.

His latest pendejadas came on the pages of Zagat, which asked him about his overall thoughts on the San Francisco food scene. Of course, the interviewer asked Bayless about Mexican food in that city, to which he replied, "San Francisco doesn't really have much of a Mexican-food tradition aside from the taquerias in the Mission, which is a fairly limited thing."

Um, excuse me? No tradition? Idiot obviously didn't read my Taco USA, let alone ask the Mexicans who've lived in the Mission even before Bayless was some Okie manning a barbecue pit whether their traditions are nonexistent. Idiot didn't even visit San Francisco's vibrant Yucatecan food scene, beneficiaries of the largest Yucateco community in the United States. And to call the Mission burrito a "fairly limited thing" is akin to calling the 1974 Cadillac Eldorado a fairly short car.

Of course, Bayless wasn't man enough to stand by his comments and tried to whitewash them immediately. He took to leaving clarifications on the Zagat page that commentors quickly eviscerated ("SF isn't well-known for a plethora of Mexican dinner restaurants"? BLECCH). And when SFist reported on the fiasco, Bayless whined to them, "Please stop making things up just to grab readers. I never said or implied" that he found San Francisco food boring.

Memo to Rick: Just shut up when it comes to Mexican food in this country. Stick to your millions of dollars and not-bad cuisine. Otherwise, leave discussion of Mexican food in this country to the experts. And grow a pair.

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121 comments
pipinita21
pipinita21

To start with burritos are not mexican, so this is not a good example to throw to Bayless' face.

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If he doesnt like San Francisco Mexican food, what is it to you, Gustavo Arellano?  By the way, this Mexican who has lived in SF several years actually agrees with Rick.  SF Mexican food is generally crappy especially when taking into account its heavy Latino influence.  

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profile

If Rick doesn't like San Francisco Mexican food, what is it to you, Gustavo Arellano?  By the way, this Mexican, who, by the way, has lived in SF several years agrees with Rick.  SF Mexican food is generally crappy especially when taking into account its heavy Latino influence.  

CortezM
CortezM

Last I checked this was a free country. Yo soy Mexicana, and I am very critical of the "Mexican Food" places that are around in the U.S. I have yet to go into a "Mexican" food restaurant and not get a plate that features rice and beans with everything. OH! and the shredded cheese over the beans? the side of shredded lettuce and tomato? Not every single dish dances with the R&B. Some only go with one or the other and some dishes go with frijoles de la hoya and not refried. Don't even get me started on the salsas and chiles. The point is, everyone has their opinion of what is good traditional food or just good food in general. Even within Mexico, as in every other country, the cuisine culture/tradition vary from state to state. Someone said earlier that enchiladas are not in Mexico, but they are, in Guadalajara. What I think Rick attempts to do, is to broaden peoples food choices mainly Non-Mexicans. To make them think about Mexican food and to get them interested in the culture by way of food. He by no means is an expert in it, but I give him props for taking on the challenge. As far as statements in articles, me personally take them with a grain of salt. Why? because to me, it creates a lot of he said she said, things could get taken out of context and or only show some and not all quotes etc. In any event, hes just one guy, one opinion. Whats with all the hate? No somos moneditas de oro, pa caerle bien a todos! paz...peace.

Adelina Marian Hernandez
Adelina Marian Hernandez

You're really not seeing it, are you? He's not just BEING offensive, he IS offensive. He takes all the things about our culture that make it OURS, digests them, and then spits them out for other white people in a way that negates the contributions WE HAVE MADE TO WHO WE ARE. He's the worst kind of of person in that he can't even be bothered to talk about how he GIVES back because HE doesn't. He just takes what we have and doesn't give credit or return to us anything of value. He's a leech.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

Maybe when you stop commenting on BBQ, steakhouses, pie, Bourbon and Gin, Bayless will stop commenting on Mexican food.

alicia.c.watson
alicia.c.watson

Dude, chill.  Rick hired me at my first restaurant job in Costa Mesa, Ca in the early 80's. He took off to Mexico to RESEARCH his first cookbook. He has a degree in Latin American studies. Don't hate...after all he gave me two raises in one week!

Salsadrummer27
Salsadrummer27

Gustavo, dude, you've got to stop commenting on your own "articles". It makes you look really pathetic. What REAL journalists/writers do you know of whom respond to petty comments pertaining to themselves?

Salsadrummer27
Salsadrummer27

You've got to stop commenting on your own articles Guillermo. It's so pathetic. I've been reading you for years and am trying to take you seriously, but this is not helping. Please, for the sake of being taken semi-serious and as a semi-pro journalist, stop responding to personally aimed comments!When do you ever see a real journalist respond to petty criticisms online?

Christopher John Barro
Christopher John Barro

I agree with Jerry. Ask a Mexican: Of course your friends would agree with you - they're your friends! Friends share common interests. Anyway, if this is how you evaluate a person--seems like instigating-- by trying to put them on the spot, based on something he said (which was taken in the wrong context), then I'm sorry... You are no better than Rick Bayless.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Don't combat his ignorant statement with your own. That's like saying "only make carne asada tacos if you're Mexican". Of course anyone can make any food they care to... but it's the fact that he thinks he's the only one, moreno or güero, making real Mexican food in the United States.

Christopher John Barro
Christopher John Barro

If you're basing your objections to Bayless by only incorporating your friends, then you need to re-evaluate yourself. You're approaching this 'issue' as an instigator. And for that, I'm sorry, but you are no better than Rick Bayless.

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

I still feel that this is brought way out of proportion. If a chef from Tijuana would have said this we wouldnt be having this conversation.

Bill_Esparza
Bill_Esparza

Gustavo is really giving Bayless a fair assessment, but the defenses are thin. Rick consistently takes on local Mexican with no knowledge of what's there. He goes to burritos when talking SF or LA but doesn't critique or mention the Yucatan cuisine in SF, or the strong showing by Oaxacans, Chilangos, Sinaloans, Nayaritans, Jaliscans, and Michoacanans in L.A. Not to mention small but solid groups of Yucatecans, Pueblans, and Zacatecans. He hasn't been; he doesn't know.

Living in Mexico qualifies you for nada--it's the traditions and flavors from your primal experiences that shape your cuisine--Rick cooks mostly simple foods that are average and pricey at best--from places he's never been--and sometimes they swing and miss. 

That's not expertise--he has a general knowledge of techniques: moles, masa, sauces, and stews, etc. 

In Bayless' Mexican Kitchen he has errors in the majority of the recipes. Let's understand how most cookbooks are put together for the "ethnic" cuisines. Recipes are researched--in other words they are copied from menus, other cookbooks and these days the internet. They are thrown together with a single test on a dish that was never tasted, maybe 10%-25%  were properly researched and thoroughly tested.

On p. 242 he lists the wrong chiles(in Sonora chiles californias hang on many a porch yet he lists New Mexican chiles) for frijoles maneados, and then admits he borrowed it from a Sonoran cookbook and changed it," I've never found a Sonoran to make it for me" he says--why--he had never been to Sonora. Why include it? Is this expertise? Without knowing what to do with it he suggests making enchiladas, which is not done anywhere in Mexico. He spells ceviche, seviche in this book. I could go on.

Don't tell us he's an expert, don't tell us about his Mex cred because it's insincere. This is just Vanilla Ice trying to remind us that he once got shot to hustle up some cred.     

Luis Hernandez
Luis Hernandez

Babadas!? Um seriously is that the best response you can come up with??

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Christopher: That's funny—my friends from San Francisco are furious at Bayless for belittling their traditions. And you obviously were snoring somewhere when Bayless insulted Mexican food in Los Angeles, but whatever: enjoy your intellectual siesta!

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Luis: Um, you gotta read the actual story before uttering your babadas...

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Jesus: Then you're just a pendejo who comments on stories he doesn't read—and I don't allow that with my fans. FUERA!

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Maria: It's linked in the story—read it, then get back to me. And if you still sing Bayless' praises then, then I question your rationale.

Luis Hernandez
Luis Hernandez

Dude if you don't see it, you need to step back and see how you're coming off!

M Joseph Gonzalez
M Joseph Gonzalez

Yes and its annoying and mis-informed pero tu eres The Ask a Mexican, eres mas chingon y vale puro pedo el baboso Rick "mexigringo" Bayless...

Jesus A. Figueroa
Jesus A. Figueroa

Well, Señor Tamaleh, I don't know the whole story dealing with Johnathan Gold. But i will say that Rick is an expert on Mexican cuisine and the reason why I agree with Velazquez.

Maria Velasquez
Maria Velasquez

I can't comment on what you're referring to because I don't know the details of what happen there.

Luis Hernandez
Luis Hernandez

Okay by your rational why is Jonathan Gold (Jewish) critiquing mexican and latin food!!

M Joseph Gonzalez
M Joseph Gonzalez

Si I did read it... But you are ASK A MEXICAN y eres mejor que ese burro. Es un idiota Rick

Christopher John Barro
Christopher John Barro

Exactly! He just says he prefers food from one place than another! That's like me saying I prefer Popeye's over KFC. Does that mean African-Americans have to write an article, telling me I insulted their traditions? Just like this article here, it makes no sense.

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

So basically Rick is saying that he prefers food from mexico city to that of san francisco. I like food from Tijuana better than san fracisco.

Christopher John Barro
Christopher John Barro

I believe we can do greater things, rather than just tattling on non-Hispanic/Latino people who allegedly insult our ethnicity.

Cesar Alcantar
Cesar Alcantar

Tijuana tacos are BOMB! As are the the fish tacos from Ensenada. So damn good.

Christopher John Barro
Christopher John Barro

"San Francisco doesn't really have much of a Mexican food tradition aside from the taquerias in the Mission, which is a fairly limited thing." How is that belittling my traditions?

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@CortezM Oops, looks like it is written 'de la hoya' also. That's some egg on my face.

zamu65
zamu65

@CortezM You are so right! Mexican Americans like the idiot that wrote this piece simply can't stand the fact that a white boy like Rick Bayless has the courage to say what is absolutely true...the VAST majority of Mexican restaurants in this country serve Americanized, cheese filled, sloppy, greasy crap to appease the American palate with little regard for true Mexican food tradition. Sorry, but its the damn truth and I commend Mr. Bayless for his huevos!

Bill_Esparza
Bill_Esparza

@CortezM No one said enchiladas aren't Mexico. I said, frijoles maneados aren't used in enchiladas in Sonora or any other part of Mexico.  

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

And barbecue? Made by negritos and wabs first and foremost.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Mitchell_Young See, unlike you, I believe anyone can master any type of cuisine regardless of ethnicity—but nice to see you stick up for liars!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Salsadrummer27 Given that you first called me "Guillermo," I seriously doubt you've ever read an article I've ever written—nice try, though. And gracias for thinking I'm a real reporter!

Bill_Esparza
Bill_Esparza

That's chiles colorados in Sonora, not California! 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@zamu65 @CortezM Actually, I welcome all gabachos, chinitos, and negritos to make Mexican food. I don't appreciate liars like Bayless, or idiot apologists like yourself. Toodles!

zamu65
zamu65

@GustavoArellano @zamu65 @CortezM I don't need to apologize for anything that Mr Bayless has done sir...his achievements speak for themselves and if it takes a "gabacho" (crass, pocho term for an anglo by the way) to elevate Mexican food in this country, then so be it. And just learn to ease on the ego bro and stop trying to make a comeback every time someone disagrees with you...it really is quite pathetic.

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