On Wednesday, Rick Bayless traveled to Washington, D.C. along with two other American citizens to receive the Order of the Aztec Eagle, which is presented on behalf of the Mexican Government to foreign citizens who have rendered great services to the country.
At a dinner at the Mexican Embassy, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán presented Bayless, along with UCSD professor Wayne Cornelius and philanthropist Deborah Szekely, with some pretty sweet medals. (The medal was so sweet, one NPR reporter began calling Bayless “Generalissimo” after the ceremony.)
In honoring Bayless, Sarukhán lauded his culinary success in the United States, but emphasized Bayless’s commitment to understanding and teaching the fundamentals of Mexican cuisine to the American public. “I believe it is fair to say that, almost singlehandedly changing the image of Mexican food in the U.S., Bayless helped ascribe to our culinary heritage the prestige and appreciation it deserves as a fine cuisine, on par with the European greats,” he said during the ceremony.
For his part, Bayless was modest. “I am both humbled and thrilled,” he tweeted, and for some reason we think he remained modest even after he did start looking like a Generalissimo. Felicidades, Rick!
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