Stephanie Izard on Top Chef Duels
Stamford native and Top Chef champion to appear on new Bravo show
It was 2007 when Stamford native Stephanie Izard was crowned champion of "Top Chef: Chicago", the first woman to win the popular competition series on Bravo, and today she’s back in the kitchen as one of eighteen contestants on the show’s all-star installment, "Top Chef: Duels". During the season, which premiered on August 7, winning chefs from previous seasons will go head to head until one reigns supreme, and Stephanie is ready for her shot at the $100 grand prize. “The cameras don’t make me nervous anymore,” she says of returning to the competition, “but of course, cooking for the show is much harder than for my business.”
Since winning "Top Chef", the ambitious cook has opened two restaurants in popular Chicago neighborhoods, Girl & the Goat and Little Goat. The theme, she says, spins off of her last name, a French word for a type of goat found in the Pyrenees Mountains. Those restaurants, along with ones she formerly owned, have earned consistently high praise from customers and food critics alike—Scylla in Chicago, which closed in 2008, was named one of the top ten best restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit.
Stephanie was raised in Stamford from the time she was one year old until she left for college. She was first inspired to cook by her mother; and once she set her eyes on a culinary career, there was no looking back. She recalled fond memories of eating at Brock’s on High Ridge as a child, but she said, without a doubt, Mario’s Pizza won her heart over the rest. “Stamford is a diverse and great place,” she explains, “but eventually I moved on.” She sure did. Now, Stephanie is excited to test her talents against some of the best in the business, and we can’t wait to watch it happen. Tune in Sept. 24 at 10 p.m. on Bravo.