Chicago Chef Rick Bayless’ love of cooking is matched by his love for the theater, specifically Chicago’s vibrant stage community. He is often seen in the audience of local productions, and in 2012 Bayless took to the stage as part of Lookingglass Theatre’s uber-chic “dinner-theater,” circus-infused production of “Cascabel” (later remounted at the Goodman Theatre).

Bayless, whose world-renowned and award-winning eateries include Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, became a benefactor of the Chicago theater scene with the awarding of $10,000 grants to 17 local theater companies in December. The news was made public this week. The grants are the official first act of the Bayless Family Foundation, headed by Kevin Sullivan, the chef’s son-in-law.

“We value theatre that ignites conversation, extends community, and reaches to a broader audience in the service of impactful storytelling,” said Bayless, in the official announcement. There are plans for the charitable giving to continue down the road.

Here is the list of the recipients:

16th Street Theater
Remy Bummpo Theatre
Black Ensemble Theater
Bohemian Theatre Ensemble
Silk Road Rising
Broken Nose Theatre
Strawdog Theatre
Griffin Theatre
The Hypocrites
Lookingglass Theatre
Theo Ubique Cabaret
Porchlight Theatre
Timeline Theatre
Teatro Vista
The House Theatre of Chicago
Shattered Globe Theater
Raven Theatre

“Rick Bayless in Cascabel: Dining, Daring, Desire” features Rick Bayless as the Cook and Chiara Mangiameli as the Senora at Lookingglass Theatre. | Lookingglass Theatre