Stephanie Izard

Chef, Restaurateur

Chicago

Before becoming a celebrity chef, Stephanie Izard earned her culinary stripes in some of Chicago’s most respected kitchens. The University of Michigan and Scottsdale Culinary Institute grad worked at notable eateries such as Vong, Spring and La Tache. Then in 2006, she opened her own restaurant, Scylla, in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. She closed the well-regarded Scylla in 2008, around the same time she was chosen to compete on Bravo’s Top Chef. After winning the reality-show competition, Izard teamed up with Boka Restaurant Group to open Girl & the Goat in 2010, which immediately received praise — so much so that she opened a sister restaurant, Little Goat, two years later. Izard released her first book Girl in the Kitchen in fall 2011, and has been nominated for various James Beard Awards.

  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What are Stephanie Izard’s favorite restaurants?

    In New York, my favorite place is Fatty Crab; I just love the flavors. In Chicago, any of Bill Kim’s restaurants — Belly Q is his newest; it’s right down the street. Again just more bold flavors. I like casual and bold flavors.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    How does Stephanie Izard order when she dines out?

    I order way too much. Whether it’s a shared-plate restaurant or not, I always order so it is — often appetizer heavy, but still ordering a few entrées to share. I was in London at a restaurant and there were three of us and we ordered like five entrées and I think we just completely confused them. We were like, “I know we’re just fat Americans, but we’re just sharing, just send it out whenever; it doesn’t matter.”
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What’s the best meal Stephanie Izard has ever had?

    There’s like a million different ones that come to my head. My mom used to make moo shu pork, and we would only have it once a month because she would have to get together with her friends once a month to make the moo shu wraps because they’re kind of a pain in the butt. But it was one of those interactive things where she just put a big pot of moo shu pork in the middle of the table and we would take the wraps. It wasn’t a night where one of us would go sit in front of the TV and eat dinner; it got my family to sit together. Any food like that where you’re getting your hands dirty and you can make your own version of it on your plate has been my favorite way to eat.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What are Stephanie Izard’s favorite ingredients?

    Preserved lemons are one of my favorite go-tos to add to most everything. Lately, it’s pickled peppers. We make our own house-pickled peppers. I just love the ingredients you can just put into anything, and they add a little bit of that zing that you’re always looking for.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What are Stephanie Izard’s most important kitchen tools?

    I really limit myself — I use a knife, a mandolin for some fine shaving and a peeler and a Vita-Prep.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What would Stephanie Izard serve at her ultimate dinner party?

    I love doing something big and whole that people kind of make their own little taste. Whether it’s pork shank or a goat leg, something that’s big. Then you serve it with some naan, some different sauces, some crunchy onions and then everyone can come up and just dig off their own meat and make their own little snack. I like doing interactive dining. And I would use meats from just one of our local farmers. We get most of our meats from Fairbury, Illinois.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What’s Stephanie Izard’s favorite dish to make?

    I mean, now especially with both restaurants, there are so many different dishes; but I guess one of my favorite things here that we do at the diner is what we call the “kimchee and bacon and eggs and pancakes Asian-style breakfast tasty thing.” We designed it after a hoi tod, which is a Vietnamese street food. We take this Asian pancake and we throw in some bacon, kimchee and eggs, and it turns out being all crispy with that sort of baked into it. It’s topped with a little bit of herbs and bean sprouts. It’s kind of a combination of different things that you can find in travels in Southeast Asia.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What’s Stephanie Izard’s take on the evolution of fine dining?

    I think that there are still some amazing fine-dining restaurants in Chicago and every city. I think that a lot of fine-dining chefs, or people that were in that world, are going towards a little bit more casual and just trying to bring great flavor and fresh-picked foods to casual dining. I guess that’s what we’re doing right now. It seems like a lot of other chefs are as well. Fine dining will always be there, but I think now there’s an addition of chef-driven, much more casual-style restaurants.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What does Stephanie Izard think makes a successful restaurant?

    Of course, you want to have good food, but it’s also about keeping in mind that there are so many other parts that are important. The service, the ambiance and everything needs to work well together. I think sometimes places only focus on one thing and don’t equalize their focus on all of them.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What is Stephanie Izard’s favorite Chicago market?

    For farm stuff, our Green City Market. It’s our biggest farmers market, and probably about 80 percent of the farmers we use are at the market; so it’s nice to just go and check with them if we don’t get to see them when they do deliveries. It’s nice to go say hi and talk to them about how the growing season is going, what’s looking good and all of that sort of stuff.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    How does Stephanie Izard come up with her menus?

    I don’t want to say I do a lot of reading because it sounds like a read a lot of books —ha! — but more so a perusing of different cultures foods. Whether it’s travel magazines or food magazines, I look at things a lot that just inspire me.  Like if I’m reading about grapefruits, I’m like, “I haven’t had grapefruits on my menu in a while, I think I’ll do something like that.” I sort of do a lot of reading to get inspiration and start with one ingredient, then just dig through the cooler and start adding on. We use a lot of local farm stuff; so once we get through the winter and there’s local stuff again, it’s usually based on that.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What inspires Stephanie Izard to keep cooking?

    It’s honestly just loving food. I love eating food. I love making food. I like making people happy, and I think food makes people happy. And I also just like the people in the industry, not as much as the lifestyle anymore of the “party-party,” but more so the people in the industry are just very unique. You just meet all these cool people, whether they are other cooks, chefs, farmers, winemakers. Everybody that has to do with food and drink, I think, is what keeps people in the industry.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    How did Stephanie Izard get into the culinary world?

    I grew up cooking with my mom all of the time. She was a really good home cook, and we always had things from all over the world, so I was just lucky to be exposed to things when I was younger. Then I went to college and never found anything that I loved to do, other than having way too much fun at college, so I ended up going to culinary school right after. I was actually working as a server in college and I was like, “Oh, the restaurant world is kind of fun,” so I ended up going to culinary school and here I am.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Stephanie Izard answered the question: Stephanie Izard

    What is Stephanie Izard's newest restaurant like?

    It’s called Little Goat, but we actually joke that it’s the Supersized Goat. It’s got a bunch of different components. We have a diner that’s supposed to be our version of an East Coast diner. We have 75 menu items; the whole menu is available all day — anything from some egg dishes influenced by various cultures to burgers, sandwiches, suppers. I’m working on our version of shepherd’s pie right now.

    So we have the diner and then attached to that is Little Goat Bread. It’s a bread shop. We bake the bread for every burger, sandwich, anything we do in the diner; and then we also sell bread wholesale. We also sell muffins, croissants and conchas — or our version of a concha — different breakfast-y things in the bake shop in the morning. We have a little coffee shop in there as well with Stumptown Coffee. At night, once the bakery/retail section shuts down, it turns into a bar.

    And also during the day, that side sells sandwiches. We have four sandwiches and a salad available for takeout every day as well. So it’s sort of like a deli/coffee shop/bar.

    Upstairs we have the Little Goat Kitchen. It’s our test kitchen by day, and we also are going to begin cooking classes, and we do private parties up here. It’s meant to be like you’re in my home kitchen. When we do private events, people come in and have snacks in the kitchen and cocktails and just have casual fun, like you’re coming over to my house for dinner type of party.