Matt Kirouac

Mexican food is a big deal in Chicago. We may be far from Mexico, but Chicago sports one of the largest Mexican populations in the U.S., and the culture has left an indelible mark on some of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods and in some of the best restaurants. In honor of one of Chicago's most prominent cuisines, famed chef Rick Bayless is entering his third year hosting Mod Mex & Mod Mix.

Chefs and mixologists from across the continent gather en masse to support Bayless in showcasing Mexican cuisine in all its multifaceted glory for Mod Mex & Mod Mix, a two-day event taking place September 12 and 13. Bayless, of Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Xoco renown, will curate a series of cooking showcases and mixology events, all with the intent to explore the diversity and deliciousness of Mexican cookery.

Mod Mex is hosted at Kendall College in conjunction with Kendall College Trust, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, and Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet's "Beyond Gourmet" series. Joining Bayless in this interactive, educational series on September 12 are Javier Plascencia of Misión 19 in Tijuana, Mexico; José Ramón Castillo of Que Bo! in Mexico City; and Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute in Chicago. The chefs will each participate in seminars, cooking demos and friendly cooking competitions, as well as a special dinner at Bayless' Topolobampo on September 13. For the Mod Mix portion of the event, mixologists Eryn Reece of Death + Company in New York City and Erick Rodriguez of Almazecalera in Mexico City will join Frontera Grill and Topolobampo mixologist Jay Schroeder to shake up their own interpretations of Mexican-accented cocktails.

The Mod Mex events at Kendall College on September 12 run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and cost $85 per person to attend. The Topolobampo dinner on September 13 begins at 6 p.m. and is $195 per person. Or for $275 per person, guests can attend an early VIP reception at the restaurant at 5 p.m., featuring a cooking demonstration by Bayless and a copy of his new cookbook, "More Mexican Everyday."

Proceeds from Mod Mex & Mod Mix benefit Chicago Public School students studying culinary arts at Kendall College. For tickets and more info, visit here