Where was Rick Bayless at 25?

Where was Rick Bayless at 25?

When you think about Rick Bayless, the things that come to mind likely aren’t Anthropological Linguistics or French food.

That just goes to show how little you know about the 25-year-old Rick Bayless.

At 25, Bayless was at the University of Michigan, knee-deep in the final stages of his dissertation.

He was also teaching cooking classes—mostly pastry or savory French food—and was seriously dating another U of M student.

But it was around this time that he realized that it wasn’t linguistics that he loved, it was food.

So he decided to make a change. A big one.

As he tells WBEZ’s Lauren Chooljian, it was that year that he sat his girlfriend down, and asked her two things: Would she marry him? And would she travel with him to either France or Mexico?

She said yes to both questions, and the two decided to move to Mexico.

Bayless says if not for that dinner table conversation, he might be living out his days as a French chef or pastry chef instead of the James Beard award-winning Mexican chef we know today.

Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ’s morning producer and reporter. Follow her @laurenchooljian.