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?
Stephanie: 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?
S: 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?
S: 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?
S: 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?
S: 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?
S: 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?
S: 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?
S: 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