There are very few stories as naturally appealing as “local boy/girl makes good,” and Stephanie Izard’s success is no exception. As the first female chef to win Bravo’s “Top Chef” competition in Season 4, Stephanie has long been considered a force to be reckoned with in the culinary arts.
Stephanie got her start at the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Phoenix before returning to Chicago in 2001 as the garde manger at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong restaurant. After a couple more stints, first as tournant at Spring and as sous chef at La Tache (Both in Chicago), Stephanie opened her first restaurant Scylla in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Scylla was the deserving recipient of many awards, including three stars from The Chicago Tribune, a “Best New Restaurant 2005” award from Chicago Magazine, and a place on Bon Appetit’s “Ten Best Small U.S. Restaurants” list.
Following her win on Season 4 of “Top Chef,” Stephanie partnered with Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz to open Girl and the Goat in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood in the summer of 2010. In their first-ever restaurant review, Saveur magazine named Girl and the Goat “America’s Best New Restaurant”; in addition, Girl and the Goat was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” award in 2011, and that same year, Izard was named a “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine magazine. Stephanie also opened Little Goat, an upscale diner that allowed her to focus on the bread program started at Girl and the Goat.
Specialties & Resources
The menu at Scylla had a strong emphasis on seafood and strove to strike a balance between the sweet and the savory, with dishes such as lobster-stuffed profiteroles and grouper with sweet corn risotto and lobster sauce.
Like her fellow list members Chris Cosentino and Vinny Dotolo, Stephanie has embraced the Mediterranean style of cooking and the “whole-animal” ethic at Girl and the Goat. Dishes such as the Hamachi Crudo (crisp pork belly, chili aioli and caperberries), wood oven roasted pig face with sunny-side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple and potato sticks, braised beef tongue with masa, beef vinaigrette and salsa verde, and pinn oaks lamb tartare with English pea tapenade, tuna aioli and dill crackers demonstrate her commitment to this style of cooking.
At Little Goat, diners will find more starch-centric offerings, such as kimchee with bacon, eggs and pancakes, sourdough pancakes, parathas burritos, and breakfast spaghetti with clams, crab, pork guanciale and bok choy. These inventive and offbeat twists on traditional cuisine tell us one thing: Stephanie’s imagination knows no bounds.