Q&A with Rick Bayless

The Chicago super chef on weight lifting, back bending and his breakfast of champions.

A fit physique and world-class foodie cred don't always go hand in hand. But Rick Bayless, James Beard award-winning restaurateur and cookbook author, balances his day job with a serious commitment to strength training and yoga. Between poses, he shared a few of his favorite things. 

Typical breakfast:
Yogurt and my Mexican granola.

This week's workout:
I do yoga Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; strength train Monday, Thursday and Saturday (followed by Pilates once a week); a short ab workout on Tuesdays; and I ballroom dance once a week. 

Motivation:
I wasn't into sports as a kid. Now I practice yoga and strength train not only because it makes me feel great, but because it's my version of being athletic.  
 
Most challenging pose:
Ekapadarajakapotasana. I'm working on drop backbends and back flexibility.  

Favorite city:
It may be sappy, but I really love Chicago. The city is beautiful, full of amazing neighborhoods. A real community.  

Style icons: 
Kevin Kline is so multi-dimensional, and looks great wherever he shows up. Gene Kelly brought real style to his athleticism.
 
Health hero:
Danny Meyer. He's a champion of great food from top to bottom and he looks like a million dollars! He is living proof that good food is good for you. 

Favorite fall ingredients:
Butternut (I love the earthy sweetness that you only get from winter squash), fall fruit like persimmon and chestnuts.  
 
What relaxes him: 
Hot bath 

Biggest vice: 
Doughnuts
 
Where he feels most at home:

Oaxaca at Christmas time, being with friends, eating traditional. 
 
Most surreal career moment thus far:
Winning Chef of the Year at the James Beard Awards, presented by the previous year's winner, Daniel Boulud. 
 
On his bucket list:
Skydiving, dinner theatre (where I act and cook for the audience at the same time), travel to Africa.

Latest obsession:
Fail blog. I can't get enough.
 
What he's totally over:
War, death and destruction 
 
Best gift he's ever received:
When I turned 50, my wife threw me a day-long birthday party beginning with mariachis on the street and ending with a talent show and party with all of my friends. We still talk about that day.
 
Message he'd like to send to the world. (Only catch: It has to be 140 characters or less.): 
I’m really good at twitter, so: Get to know a farmer. Buy from a farmer’s market. Live in the moment, cook in the moment.

Bayless demonstrating his Anusara yoga prowess.