Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse to Present ‘A Recipe for Disaster’

James Beard Award-winning Chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein announced that they will present “A Recipe for Disaster,” an outrageous farcical experience set in the frenetic world of restaurants beginning Oct. 6, 2021.

Bayless, Rubenstein and Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger are teaming up to create a fully scripted immersive event, with audiences enjoying tastes of cocktails, wine and food created by Bayless as the hilarity unfolds. Based on Bayless’s real-life experiences, the story revolves around a special event at a well-known restaurant where everything that could possibly go wrong occurs, sending the restaurant staff into a tailspin. A drunk chef, a couple in crisis, a dishonest health inspector and a spy from a competing restaurant all contribute to the chaos with side-splitting results. 

The location for the production is a downtown restaurant to be announced. 

Tickets to “A Recipe for Disaster,” which include six bite-size tastings and three cocktail and wine samplings will go on sale on July 15, with regular and VIP options (including an expanded food and beverage menu) available. 

“A Recipe for Disaster” will be directed by David H. Bell, who won a Jeff Award for his direction of Windy City Playhouse’s smash hit “Southern Gothic,” which ran for more than a year. The design team includes set designer William Boles, who won a Jeff Award for his design of Windy City Playhouse’s “Boys in the Band,” and costume designer Uriel Gomez, who was nominated for a Jeff Award for his work on the same production.Additional designers and casting will be announced at a future date.  

Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” His highly rated public television series, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” is broadcast coast to coast and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades.   

Located in Chicago, Rick’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” designation from the James Beard Foundation — an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants. His wildly popular fast-casual Xoco debuted in 2009 and Tortas Frontera at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has changed the face of airport dining. In 2016, he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. In 2018, Rick expanded his Clark Street restaurants by opening Bar Sótano, a Oaxacan-inspired mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food. Tortazo, Rick’s new fast-casual concept, debuted in 2020 in Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower, with plans to open an outpost in New York City in fall 2021.  

In 2012 and again in 2014, Rick joined forces with LookingglassTheatre Company to create “Cascabel,” the story of food’s capacity to change lives. The audience for “Cascabel” shared a meal with the cast of actors, musicians, singers and circus performers as the tale of unrequited love resolved into magical beauty.  

Windy City Playhouse is a professional theater on Chicago’s northwest side. Premiering in March of 2015 with a mission to present contemporary, relevant, and approach art, the Playhouse has quickly become a mainstay of the Chicago theater scene. In 2018, its runaway hit, the immersive “Southern Gothic” solidified the Playhouse as the first choice in Chicago theater for one-of-a-kind audience experience. “Experience driven. Audience first.”