Chef Stephanie Izard rose to fame well beyond Chicago after winning Top Chef in 2008. She is particularly renowned in the city for her goat-themed restaurants, catering business, product line, and multiple books. Izard is associated with four restaurants under Chicago’s Boka Restaurant Group, conveniently located near The Everygirl offices, including Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat, and Cabra.

Despite her current success in the culinary world, becoming a chef was not always Izard’s initial plan. Her first job was at her father’s hardware store, and she later attended the University of Michigan without intentions of pursuing a culinary career. It was only later that she discovered her passion for food and cooking, leading her to culinary school and eventually opening her first restaurant, Scylla, in Chicago in 2004, prior to her appearance on Top Chef.

In a reflection on her journey, Izard shared, “I asked a lot of questions and just kind of went for it. My family and friends pitched in, with my dad constructing the host stand, my sister managing graphic design, and my friend building a stunning bar. It was a collective effort!”

Prior to her participation in Top Chef, Izard had sold Scylla, her first restaurant. Encountering the opportunity to join the show, she embraced it as a fun yet challenging experience.

Since then, she has expanded her culinary empire by opening four restaurants, a milestone she describes as a blend of long and short stretches of time. Izard expressed pride in cultivating a close-knit team within her restaurants.

My family and friends helped along the way. My dad built the host stand, my sister handled the graphic design, and my friend built a beautiful bar. It was all hands on deck!

When it comes to developing new concepts, Izard’s approach is spontaneous. She shared, “I wake up and think, oh that would be fun! (I’m not even kidding).”

In a recent collaboration, Izard partnered with Peapod to introduce This Little Goat meal kits, making it simpler for enthusiasts to recreate her culinary creations at home, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

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Despite her accomplishments, Izard acknowledges facing challenges, predominantly in assembling the right team and building a robust infrastructure for sustainability. She emphasized the importance of a cohesive and competent team.

Reflecting on her journey, Izard cherishes the moments she has connected with fellow chefs, describing these encounters as her most fulfilling experiences.

It’s fun during the good moments and just very hard at others. We have created an amazing family of goats though and that is what I am most proud of!

In 2013, Izard tied the knot with Gary Valentine, celebrating with a unique Cheez-It cake and a feast prepared by notable Chicago chefs, as featured in People. Their son, Ernie, was born in 2016, signaling a shift from culinary endeavors to family-oriented cooking for Izard.

Embracing motherhood, Izard navigates the dual roles of being a chef and a mom, focusing on striking a balance between spending time with her son and overseeing her professional commitments.

Source: @stephanieizard

Click here to shop Stephanie’s new sauces and spices!

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Source: @thislittlegoat

With a bustling schedule managing a 3-year-old and four restaurants, Izard faces diverse challenges daily. Her routine involves juggling her professional commitments while cherishing moments with her son, indulging in graham crackers.

Expressing a commitment to her culinary ventures, Izard hinted at continuing her journey, dedicating herself to her restaurants well beyond a decade of operation. Her passion for culinary excellence remains unwavering.

Source: @stephanieizard

Stephanie Izard is The Everygirl…

Go-to coffee or tea order: Skim Cappuccino

Favorite restaurant in the city that isn’t one of yours: avec

Your ideal day off: Hanging with Ernie!

Your favorite book/movie/TV show: Working Moms (currently) and Gilmore Girls (long-term)


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