Video Best New Chef Stephanie Izard.
Video Stephanie Izard describes what it means to be named a Best New Chef.
Born 1976; Evanston, IL ("I was born the day before Halloween, October 30. My mother calls me 'devil's child.'")
Education Le Cordon Bleu; Scottsdale, AZ
How she opened Scylla when she was just 27 "I was cooking at La Tache, and one of the cooks said, 'You should open your own restaurant.' That was it. The next week I quit, got a giant loan, bought a building and opened Scylla. I think I was on a big adrenaline rush; I could not do that again by myself now."
Childhood Experience "I always cooked with my mom; we'd shop together every Sunday and then cook together. She's a good cook, but now I notice that she uses things like jarred garlic; I throw her under the bus every time I do a demo."
How she knew she wanted to be a cook "When I was growing up, I was always watching Martin Yan's Yan Can Cook and Julia Child while all my friends were watching Saved By the Bell."
Memorable Cooking Experience "When I was eight, my family went to Epcot. We went to 'France' and had ham-filled crêpes with mushroom béchamel sauce. When we got home, I looked through cookbooks and recreated the dish pretty much exactly. My parents couldn't believe it."
Kitchen Tool Vegetable peeler. "My sous chef just got me one from an Asian market. It's got a little green face with little googly eyes on it. It also has a wasabi shredder on the inside."
Memorable Meal Tetsuya's in Sydney. "I was by myself. It's the only time I've done a big 10-course tasting by myself. I spent the whole time watching everyone else eat, watching their eyes light up. It was also the first time I'd gotten a chef's cookbook and then gotten to eat their food."
Cheap Eat San Soo Gab San, a Korean restaurant in Chicago. "They're open late, and the chap chae [a cold noodle dish] is ridiculous. We get a table for 20, sit on the floor and cook all our own food—which, maybe, after a night of cooking, isn't the best part. But we have a little party there."
Guilty Pleasure Tamari rice crackers with The Laughing Cow cheese. "It's my go-to snack in the kitchen. There are always tamari rice crackers sitting on my station; I dip them in whatever I'm making that day."
Next Restaurant Little Goat. "It will be a diner, with a bar, opening in late fall. We're also going to make all kinds of breads there; we're going to blow up the bread program. So you'll be able to walk in at 7 a.m. and get bread right from the oven."
Upcoming Cookbook Girl in the Kitchen (Fall 2011).
Advantage to winning Top Chef season 4 "After oversleeping and missing my flight to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, I was 20th on the standby list for the next flight. Then a woman at the counter saw me and said 'That's my Top Chef!' She snapped her fingers and said, 'Get my Top Chef on the plane!'"
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.