Chef Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat - Biography

Chicago, IL

April 2012

Stephanie Izard didn’t set out immediately for a culinary career, but when her path finally led her to the kitchen, she hit the ground—and the line—running. With a sociology degree from the University of Michigan, Izard began cooking in earnest at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and then, working as a line cook at Christopher's Fermier Brasserie in Phoenix. With a taste and talent for the kitchen firmly instilled in her, Izard moved back to Chicago in 2001 and worked her way through some of its most respected kitchens, including La Tache, Spring, and Vong.

Still shy of 30, Izard proved she wasn’t afraid to take risks. With no business partners in sight, a 27 year-old Izard opened her first restaurant, Scylla. And in 2007 Izard not only earned a spot on Bravo's fourth season of mega-hit “Top Chef,” she actually sold her restaurant on the fly to be able to film the show (almost the next day). The gamble proved more than worthwhile, not just for national exposure; after taking home the grand prize, and coveted title, Izard was able to spend two years traveling, speaking, cooking, and—most importantly for the ambitious chef—promoting her next project.

And while Girl & the Goat may have built buzz with series of underground "Wandering Goat" dinners at unsuspecting venues around Chicago, it’s since become a visible and lauded hot spot of Chicago dining. In fact, no sooner had her quasi-namesake restaurant opened (Izard is French for a Pyrenean goat-antelope) than Izard was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef and a 2011 StarChefs.com Chicago Rising Star. When she’s not indulging profilers from the likes of Saveur, the Chicago Tribune, or Chicago Magazine, Izard can be found working with local Chicago charity Common Threads and sourcing her product from local farmers and growers.