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The Chicago Traveler

Hometown Gal Wins "Top Chef: Chicago"

by Matt B on June 13th, 2008

This season of the Bravo Network's Top Chef was filmed here in Chicago, exposing competing chefs from all over the country to all the culinary treats the Windy City has to offer.

This season's finale aired Wednesday night, and Chicago's very own Stephanie Izard won! After a long, dramatic, and stressful competition, Izard won an editorial feature in Food & Wine Magazine, an appearance at the Food & Wine Classic in Colorado, and $100,000 to help start her own restaurant. Perhaps most importantly, she has made history in becoming the very first female Top Chef.

The final challenge was kept simple but was full of high expectations. Each chef had to create a traditional four-course meal for nine guests, consisting of a fish course, a poultry course, a red meat course, and a dessert (in that order). They had two days to put together and prepare the dinner. Each contestant was paired with one of three famous chefs (Eric Ripert, Dan Barber, and April Bloomfield) on the first day of cooking, but they had to finish the meal preparation on their own on the second day.

To be honest, as much as I wanted Stephanie to win, I wasn't certain that she would, especially after seeing the judges' reactions to her dessert'ricotta pound cake. However, it may have been her third course that saved her: roasted lamb medallions with maitake mushrooms, braised(!) pistachios, and blackberries. The judges (Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Ted Allen) could not get over the strange but incredibly successful combination of flavors. The dish exemplified great planning and ingenuity.

After watching the popular reality competition stop at several of the Windy City's culinary hotspots, it seems only fitting that a Chicagoan won. Congratulations Stephanie!

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2 opinions for Hometown Gal Wins "Top Chef: Chicago"

  • Alicia
    Jun 14, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    We were so happy that Stephanie won! She really looked like she had it together, and we cheered her on through the Finale.

    Go Chicago!

  • Weekend Events (Oct 17-19, ‘08)
    Oct 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    […] chefs are featured at the 20th annual Celebrity Chef Ball, including Top Chef: Chicago winner Stephanie Izard, contestant Valerie Bonan, and Top Chef: New York contender Radhika Desai. (Oct […]

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