Interview with Top Chef Stephanie Izard
We are thrilled that our BFF, Laura K from Blogging Project Runway , had the opportunity to meet with Season 4 winner Chef Stephanie Izard. Laura took the time to share her interview with all of us.
Thank you so much Laura!
LK: Hi Stephanie, what brings you to Scottsdale?
SI: I’m here for Eats3. I’ll be doing a cooking demonstration on Saturday. Also my parents live here and I went to The Scottsdale Culinary Institute from 1998 – 2000. I love Scottsdale.
LK: What have you been doing since winning season four of Top Chef?
SI: Traveling, doing personal appearances at food and wine festivals and some television shows. I was recently on the Rachael Ray show and next week I will be filming a Diet Dr. Pepper commercial. I have also been working on a cookbook and shopping for a condo and a restaurant location in Chicago.
LK: Are you recognized in the streets?
SI: Yes, all the time. The first time I was recognized was the curbside check-in guy at the airport after only a few episodes had aired. Now it happens almost every day. Just today, the person who served my coffee recognized me!
LK: When you aren’t cooking, what do you do for fun?
SI: I love to scuba dive. My sister and I recently went diving in Honduras. We swam with dolphins and sharks. If I wasn’t a chef I would love to be a scuba instructor.
LK: Do you have just one sister?
SI: Yes, her name is Stacey, she is two years older.
LK: Who was your favorite guest judge on the show.
SI: Definitely Daniel Boulud. Tom is really sweet too. The judges don’t really interact with the contestants, it’s only afterward that I have gotten to know them.
LK: Does Padma really eat the food? How does she stay so thin?
SI: She really does eat it!
LK: Do you watch any cooking shows?
SI: I like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.
LK: Any other reality shows?
SI: Project Runway.
LK: Will you be at the Top Chef event in NYC next week?
SI: No, I have to be in LA filming the Diet Dr. Pepper commercial.
LK: Do you have an agent?
LK: Do you know any of the season five chefs?
SI: Yes, I know Radhika. She is from Chicago and I have eaten at her restaurant and hung out with her.
LK: What advice would you give to the Top Chef contestants?
SI: The same advice that Dale gave me. Don’t trash talk the other chefs and there is a lot of junk food on the set.
LK: Junk food?
SI: Yes, a lot of Doritos!
LK: Is there still a “boy’s club” in the kitchen or have times changed?
SI: There are more women chefs today but it is still a physically demanding job. I have to ask for help lifting the heavy stock pots. It is a fact that women have more sensitive palates. There are a lot of women in culinary school. Maybe the tide will turn.
LK: Do you read the websites and blogs?
SI: I did, but I would read something mean and it would ruin my day. So, now my dad pre-screens everything for me and sends me links to the good stuff!
LK: How did you become interested in cooking?
SI: I think about cooking and food constantly. I even dream about food. I wander through a farmer’s market and imagine combinations of foods in my mind. I will never run out of things that I want to try.
When I was eight years old my family went to Epcot Center and we went to a French restaurant and had a crepe dish. When I returned home I told my mom that I was going to make it. I found a recipe and with a little help I recreated the dish.
LK: You were eight?
LK: Are there any special causes that you are interested in?
SI: Yes. Common Threads. They educate underprivileged kids about food and nutrition. Along with other Top Chef contestants, I am doing an event for them in Chicago on October 29th. I have been working with them since before I appeared on the show!
LK: One more question – do you have a sweetheart?
SI: Not right now. Time Out Chicago actually has a feature about single chefs in the current issue. I am one of the profiles!
LK: Thank you Stephanie!
Our thanks to both Chef Stephanie and to Laura K for sharing this wonderful interview with us.