It's "the magic touch to everything in life," the chef said. Here's her favorite brand, too. 

Stephanie Izard
Credit: Abby Hocking

Even though Stephanie Izard insists that she's "a terrible home cook," we don't believe her.

At the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, the Girl & the Goat chef did a cooking demonstration of dishes that are perfect for low-maintenance entertaining, and there was one ingredient that appeared in almost everything she made, from creamy crostini to chicken salad to Northern Thai hoi tad crepes: fish sauce.

"Fish sauce is the magic touch to everything in life," Izard said. "For anybody that’s eaten at any of my restaurants—you may have noticed my love of fish sauce."

To choose her favorite bottle of the condiment to use in her restaurant and at home, she did a blind taste, and her favorite brand was Red Boat. And she can't live without it.

"We used to use one that was so much sweeter, so we now we have to add more sugar to dishes," said Izard. As for finding your own favorite brand, she suggested being careful at the supermarket. "If there's a bunch of ingredients listed other than fish, you probably don’t want to use it. Red Boat is shellfish free and gluten free."

Breakfast Pancake
Credit: Abby Hocking

Izard also did a blind taste test of soy sauces at her restaurant, and she and her staff landed on Pearl River Bridge. Another fermented ingredient Izard always keeps in her fridge? Kimchi. And she urges everyone to do the same.

On June 15, the chef announced exclusively with Food & Wine that she is expanding her restaurant empire outside of Chicago for the first time ever, opening a location of Girl & the Goat in Los Angeles next year. If you know a talented goat farmer in the L.A. area, let Izard know—she's looking for a good one.

"If anyone is friends with a goat farmer near Los Angeles, please let me know," she said. "We get all of our goats from a local farm in Chicago, and they are so much better than [other] goats you can find."

Below, find a few of our all-time favorite fish sauce recipes: