Stephanie Izard

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Stephanie Izard
Born (1976-10-30) October 30, 1976 (age 37)
Stamford, Connecticut
Education University of Michigan
Scottsdale Culinary Institute
Culinary career

Stephanie Izard (born October 30, 1976) is an American chef residing in Chicago, Illinois, and was the winner of the fourth season of Top Chef, Bravo's cooking competition show. She is the first woman to have won Top Chef, and the only woman to win until Kristen Kish won the season 10 competition. She is also the co-owner and Executive Chef of Girl & the Goat and Little Goat, both of which are located in Chicago.

Early life and education[edit]

Stephanie Izard was born in the Chicago suburb of Evanston and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, where she developed an interest in food from her parents. She earned a degree in sociology from the University of Michigan before attending the Le Cordon Bleu culinary program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

Career prior to Top Chef[edit]

After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, she worked at the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, as well as a couple of other restaurants, but then made the very spur-of-the-moment decision to pack up and move to Chicago in 2001. She’s been in love with the city ever since. After landing in Chicago, Stephanie got a gig as garde manger at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Chicago outpost of Vong. (This was where she met fellow “Top Chef” contestant Dale Talde, as well as her cookbook co-author Heather Shouse.) After leaving Vong, Steph worked as a roundsman at Spring under Shawn McClain and then sous chef at La Tache with Dale Levitsky. In 2006, she branched out on her own with the Bucktown restaurant Scylla, which was quickly named one of the 10 best restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit. Being both owner and chef of her own place was a huge learning experience, but she opted to close in 2008.

Top Chef[edit]

Main article: Top Chef (season 4)

Around the time of Scylla's closing, Izard was picked to compete on Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning series “Top Chef: Season Four,” which she ultimately won, becoming the first woman in the history of the show to take the title. Izard was the first Top Chef to both win four elimination challenges and to be at the top of elimination challenges a total of 10 times.

On the season 4 Top Chef Reunion Special that aired on June 18, 2008, Izard won the viewer-elected Fan Favorite title, receiving a $10,000 prize in addition to her Top Chef title and prizes.

Girl & The Goat[edit]

With the “Top Chef” win under her belt, Izard assembled a team with Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of the BOKA Restaurant Group and the trio opened Girl & the Goat in Chicago’s West Loop in summer of 2010. The restaurant has received local and national press, including four out of five stars from Time Out Chicago and three out of four from Chicago Tribune.[citation needed] It was also the subject of Saveur magazine’s first-ever restaurant review, which dubbed Girl & the Goat “America’s Best New Restaurant.” Girl & the Goat was also nominated for the 2011 James Beard Best New Restaurant Award, right around the time Stephanie was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs.[1]

Little Goat[edit]

In March 2011, Izard announced that she would be teaming up with the BOKA restaurant group to open a second restaurant, Little Goat.[2] The menu features a fun and adventurous play on typical diner food including breakfast, breads, salads, soups, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, desserts and shakes. The entire menu is available all day, so guests can enjoy their favorites at any time. To complement the food, Little Goat offers a selection of 14 craft beers on draft, a small array of low production wines, and a selection of classic cocktails. Little Goat features a wide breadth of seating choices, including standard table seating, bar seating, and a private dining space.

Throughout the process, Izard and her team kept details about Little Goat close to their chest, slowly revealing more and more details as the opening date got closer. First, Izard released details about the coffee area housed within Little Goat. Little Goat is teaming up with Stumptown Coffee to brew, as Izard put it, "Simply good coffee." It was reported on Little Goat's teaser website[3] that Izard had taken a trip to Colombia earlier in the summer of 2012 to explore the quality of not only Stumptown's coffee, but also the quality level of the lives of the growers who produce Stumptown's coffee. At night, the coffee shop will close down and make room for patrons arriving at the bar.

Second, Izard announced that not only would Little Goat have an expansive bread program, but that the diner would be home to its own Little Goat Bread shop. Patrons can see back into the kitchen where baker, Greg Wade (also the baker at Girl & the Goat) will be baking. The bread shop will make breads for the diner as well as loaves patrons can purchase to take home.

Other Projects[edit]

In October 2011, Izard published her first cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen.[4] Following its release, Izard and her team went on a national "Goat Tour" to promote the book. While in each city on tour, Izard teamed up with a chef friend in town to co-host a collaboration dinner to benefit Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to feeding hungry children of which Izard has been a supporter.

In July 2012, Izard announced her restaurant concept for her next project. At an undetermined date, Izard will be tackling chicken in the form of a fast-casual, chicken focused chain of restaurants with her partners Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of BOKA restaurant group, with emphasis on locally sourced chicken.


In April 2012 Stephanie Izard was featured in an episode of Hulu's A Day in the Life TV series. The episode followed Stephanie for an entire day while she worked at her restaurant. About halfway through the episode there is a planning meeting to discuss the development of Stephanie's new restaurant Little Goat.[5][6]

Izard also made an appearance of Food Network's "Iron Chef America" where she battled Iron Chef Michael Symon in a head to head bread competition. Symon turned up the heat taking the win.

Personal life[edit]

Izard has a dog named Burt, who is a frequent guest on her social media networks and has his own Twitter, @TheAdmiralBurt. Izard currently resides in Chicago with her husband, Gary Valentine, whom she married on October 6, 2013. [7]

Awards, Nominations and Accolades[edit]


Girl & the Goat[edit]

  • 2011 Michelin Guide Chicago Bib Gourmand honor
  • Ranked Number 4 on Trip Advisor's 2012 Travelers' Choice list of "Top Ten Restaurants in the World"
  • Ranked Number 4 on Trip Advisor's 2012 Travelers' Choice list of “Top 10 Restaurants in the U.S.”
  • Ranked #23 on Daily Meals' "101 Best Restaurants in America" (2012)
  • Awarded 3 out of 4 stars from Chicago Tribune
  • Awarded 4 out of 5 stars from Time Out Chicago
  • Received Zagat rating of 27/30 "Extraordinary to Perfection"
  • Saveur Magazine's first ever restaurant review, which dubbed Girl & the Goat "Best New Restaurant"
  • Named One of Zagat's "5 Trendiest Restaurants in Chicago" (2011)
  • Named one of Chicago Magazine's "Best New Restaurants in Chicago 2011" in their May 2011 issue, as well as receiving a glowing review in the October 2010 issue. Girl & the Goat was also mentioned in Chicago Magazine's "The Hot List" several times in 2010 and 2011.
  • Featured in Travel + Leisure Magazine's "Culinary Getaways" (2011)
  • Magellan Development Group named Girl & the Goat one of the 5 best new restaurants in Chicago (2011)
  • Placed #18 on Eater: Chicago's "38 Essential Chicago Restaurants" (2011)
  • Featured in Jennifer Olvera's book Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago (2011)
  • Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel listed Girl & the Goat at #2 on his list of top 5 restaurants that are worth waiting to be seated for (2011)
  • Wall Street Journal readers weighed in on Chicago's top restaurants, with Girl & the Goat ultimately coming in at #4 on the list (2011)
  • Mentioned on the November 30, 2011 episode of NBC’s Today Show as one of the best Chicago restaurants.
  • New York Magazine ran a feature on "Where to Eat" in Chicago, with Girl & the Goat featuring prominently on the list (2011)
  • Chicago Reader named Girl & the Goat one of 8 Restaurants To Try in Spring (2011)
  • Awarded Time Out Chicago’s 2011 Eat Out Award for Best New Restaurant (2011)
  • Awarded Chicago Tribune's "New Restaurant of the Year" (2010)
  • Awarded Metromix Chicago's honor of Restaurant of the Year (2010)
  • Appeared in New York Times' Travel Section as a new tasty reason to visit Chicago (2010)
  • Awarded Eater Chicago's "Restaurant of the Year" award (2010)
  • Awarded Eater Chicago's "So Hot Right Now" award (2010)
  • Departures Magazine listed as one of Chicago's Top Restaurants (2010)
  • Featured in Food & Wine magazine’s article "Where to Go Next: Chicago" (July 2010)
  • Bon Appetit featured Time Out Chicago's exemplary review of Girl & the Goat (Sept 2010)
  • Actress and former talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell has highlighted Girl & the Goat as one of her favorite restaurants in Chicago, saying on-air during The Rosie Show: “It was the most magnificent night I’ve ever had at a restaurant. Not only was the food delicious, but the staff and the ambiance was amazing. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place.” (Feb 2012)
  • Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain dined at Girl & the Goat on July 18, 2012 and composed a tweet that simply stated, "Girl and the Goat magnificent. That is all."


  1. ^ "Best New Chefs". Food & Wine Magazine. Food & Wine. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Bendersky, Ari. "Stephanie Izard Planning to Open the Little Goat, an Old School Diner with a Twist". Eater Chicago. Eater. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Izard, Stephanie. "Little Goat Coffee: the Story". Little Goat. Little Goat. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Pollack, Penny. "On Stephanie Izard’s Cookbook, ‘Girl in the Kitchen’". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Polis, Carey (2 April 2012), Stephanie Izard Of 'Top Chef': A Day In The Life, Huffington post, retrieved April 16, 2012 
  6. ^ Watch A Day in the Life of Chef Stephanie Izard,, retrieved April 16, 2012 
  7. ^,,20742659,00.html
  8. ^ Dean, Sam. "Top 10 Best Chefs to Follow on Twitter". Bon Appetit. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 

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