Stephanie Izard

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Stephanie Izard
Born (1978-10-30) October 30, 1978 (age 36)
Evanston, Illinois
Education University of Michigan
Scottsdale Culinary Institute
Culinary career

Stephanie Izard (born October 30, 1978) is an American chef residing in Chicago, Illinois, best known as the first female chef to win Bravo's Top Chef, taking the title on the fourth season.[1] She is the co-owner and executive chef of two award-winning Chicago restaurants, Girl and the Goat, and Little Goat, and opened her first restaurant, Scylla (now closed) as chef-owner at the age of 27. Izard won a coveted James Beard Foundation Award (Best Chef: Great Lakes) in 2013 for her work at Girl and the Goat.[2] Izard has made a number of appearances on Top Chef since her win, both as a guest judge and participant (on Top Chef Duels).[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Stephanie Izard was born in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois 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 in 1998 before attending the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Scottsdale, graduating in 1999.[4][5][6][7]

Early career[edit]

After graduating with a culinary arts degree, Izard worked in the Phoenix area at the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, and Christopher Gross's Fermier Brasserie.[5] Izard returned to the Chicago area in 2001, with a job as garde manger at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Vong.[1] While working at Vong, Izard met future "Top Chef" contestant Dale Talde, and Heather Shouse, with whom she would later co-author the cookbook "Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats, and Drinks".[5][8] After leaving Vong, Izard worked as tournant at Shawn McClain's Spring, and then as sous chef at Dale Levitski's La Tache.[4]


In 2004, at the age of 27, Izard opened her first restaurant, "Scylla", in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. The 50-seat restaurant, named for the Greek mythological creature Scylla, offered a menu emphasizing seafood, and a sweet-savory interplay with dishes like lobster-stuffed profiteroles and grouper with sweet corn risotto and lobster sauce[9] Reviews and awards included three stars from the Chicago Tribune, "Best New Restaurants 2005" from Chicago Magazine, and "Ten Best Small U.S. Restaurants" from Bon Appétit Magazine.[9][10][11] Izard closed Scylla in August 2007.

Top Chef[edit]

Main article: Top Chef (season 4)

Around the time of Scylla's closing, Izard signed on to the Chicago-based fourth season of Bravo’s "Top Chef", which she ultimately won, becoming the show's first female winner, and claiming a $100,000 prize.[12][13] Over the course of the season, Izard won two "Quickfire" challenges, five elimination challenges, and was on the top eleven out of fourteen episodes.[12] In the Puerto Rico-based finale, she chose Eric Ripert to assist with her prep work in preparing a four-course tasting menu for judging, which prevailed over the menus offered by fellow contestants Richard Blais and Lisa Fernandes.[13]

On the Top Chef Season 4 Reunion Special, Izard won the title of "Fan Favorite", receiving a $10,000 prize in addition to her Top Chef title and prizes.[14] She is the only "Top Chef" winner to also win Fan Favorite.[12]

Girl & The Goat[edit]

In the wake her "Top Chef" win, Izard met future business partners Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of the BOKA Restaurant Group, and the trio eventually opened Girl and the Goat in Chicago’s West Loop in summer of 2010.[15] The 130-seat restaurant features an eclectic menu showcasing Mediterranean influences and "nose-to-tail" cooking, emphasizing the use of offal alongside traditional cuts of meat.[16]

Saveur magazine, in their first-ever restaurant review, dubbed Girl & the Goat “America’s Best New Restaurant."[16] Girl & the Goat was nominated for the James Beard Award (Best New Restaurant) in 2011, the same year that Food & Wine magazine named Izard a "Best New Chef."[4]

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.[17]

Other projects[edit]

In October 2011, Izard published her first cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen.[18] 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 February 2015, Izard announced the opening of a third restaurant in Chicago's Market District. Duck Duck Goat (857 W. Fulton Market) will open sometime in the late summer. [19] It is confirmed that Duck Duck Goat is on target for a November launch at 857 W. Fulton Market. [20]


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.[21][22]

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. Izard currently resides in Chicago with her husband, Gary Valentine, whom she married on October 6, 2013.[23]

Awards, nominations and accolades[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kayal, Michele (2011-10-28). "Stephanie Izard Turns 'Top Chef' Into Big Break". Huffington Post. AP. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Dixler, Hillary. "Winners: 2013 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards". Eater. Vox Media. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  3. ^ McQuilkin, Kieran. "Stephanie Izard on Top Chef Duels". Stamford Magazine. Moffy Publications. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Best New Chefs: Stephanie Izard". Food and Wine Magazine. Time, Inc. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Culture Catalyst: Stephanie Izard". WBEZ: Chicago Amplified (Chicago Public Media). 2012-01-10. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Chef Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat - Biography". Star Chefs. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Success Stories: Stephanie Izard". Le Cordon Bleu. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Pursglove, Sheila (2011-12-01). "ANN ARBOR: Bravo TV 'Top Chef' contestant Stephanie Izard to speak at Ann Arbor library Dec. 12". Ann Arbor Journal (Heritage Newspapers). Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Vettel, Phil (2005-11-17). "Izard's seafood mastery is the lure at Bucktown's Scylla". Chicago Tribune (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Ray, Dennis. "Best New Restaurants". Chicago Magazine. Chicago Tribune Media Group. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Pollack, Penny. "One huge pancake headed for Lincoln Square". Chicago Magazine. Chicago Tribune Media Group. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c "Stephanie Izard: Full Biography". Bravo: Top Chef. NBCUniversal. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Top Chef". Bravo: Top Chef. NBCUniversal. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Digit". Chicago Tribune (Chicago Tribune). 2008-06-20. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Walker, Cassie. "Stephanie Izard on Girl & the Goat, "Top Chef," and more". Chicago Magazine. Chicago Tribune Media Group. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Bowen, Dana. "Restaurant Review: Girl & the Goat, Architect of Flavor". Saveur. Bonnier. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Bendersky, Ari. "Stephanie Izard Planning to Open the Little Goat, an Old School Diner with a Twist". Eater Chicago. Eater. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  18. ^ Pollack, Penny. "On Stephanie Izard’s Cookbook, ‘Girl in the Kitchen’". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Polis, Carey (2 April 2012), Stephanie Izard Of 'Top Chef': A Day In The Life, Huffington post, retrieved April 16, 2012 
  22. ^ Watch A Day in the Life of Chef Stephanie Izard,, retrieved April 16, 2012 
  23. ^,,20742659,00.html
  24. ^ Dean, Sam. "Top 10 Best Chefs to Follow on Twitter". Bon Appetit. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 

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