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Stephanie Izard Wants to Be Top Chef

Based on the first episode of this season's Top Chef, chef Stephanie Izard looks like someone to beat. Her version of duck l'orange looked so delicious I wanted to reach in and grab it through the screen.

Recently we had the opportunity to talk to Stephanie. This Chicago-based chef talked about her audition, a hometown advantage and what it was like to be a Top Chef contestant. Check out our interview, just


YumSugar: Why did you decide to audition for Top Chef?
It's one of my favorite shows on TV. I really like watching the cooking and they do a really good job of showing off everyone's personalities.

YS: What was your audition tape like?
I wanted to be myself. I went around videotaping myself at different markets.

YS: You're from Chicago, do you think you have an advantage because of that?
I thought I would. I thought I could guess what they would do and what the challenges would be, but they're really good at surprising everyone.

YS: Was the Top Chef experience what you expected?
I really didn't know what to expect. I've watched every episode of every season. I was expecting to meet great people from all over and I did. I expected a lot of work and a big challenge, which it was.

YS: Are you worried about how you're going to be portrayed?
I really did my best, not that I was thinking about everything I did. But I don't talk negative very often, so I tried not to at all. I'm a little bit competitive and very friendly and was there to have a good time.

YS: How did it feel to win the first challenge?
After losing that first quickfire, I felt like an idiot. I guess I was a little nervous. I'm glad I lost the pizza challenge because I got to choose the duck. I knew I'd be able to make that dish.

YS: Were you nervous around the judges?
As soon as I saw Anthony Bourdain I was. I could not even sauce my duck. It took a couple of episodes to get used to having all the chefs around and cameras around. My nerves definitely got to me, but I overcame it.

YS: And finally, what's your cooking style like?
I like to make your whole mouth happy. I want every part of your palate to get hit with every dish. I like textures, and to have fun with food and flavors.

Photos courtesy of Bravo

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