Success Stories | Stephanie Izard

Le Cordon Bleu graduate Paul Qui

Graduated: 1999, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale (formerly Scottsdale Culinary Institute)
Degree: Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts
Current Position: Chef, Restaurant Owner and Author
Accolades: Bravo’s Top Chef®, Season Four

Chef Stephanie Izard grew up in a food enthusiast household in Stamford, Connecticut, where her parents enjoyed cooking globally-inspired dishes and entertaining family and friends. Izard’s foray into the kitchen started around the age of 10 with the simple game of “restaurant.” As a young cook in her family’s kitchen, Stephanie would offer friends and family a menu she created from scratch and serve timeless dishes such as chicken cordon bleu.

After high school, and in pursuit of a more traditional career, Izard earned a degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1998. However, she quickly realized that food was her true passion. With her parent’s blessing, Izard headed west to Scottsdale and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts to earn her Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts.

Upon graduation, Stephanie worked as a line cook at the French-inspired Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie. She later returned to Chicago to work at Jean Georges’ restaurant, Vong’s Thai Kitchen, and then under celebrated Chicago Chef Shawn McClain, owner and executive chef of Spring. Following, Stephanie created exceptional, creative seafood dishes for the critically-acclaimed French bistro, La Tache.

In 2004, Stephanie opened her Mediterranean-influenced restaurant, Scylla, to rave reviews. Three years later, Bon Appétit magazine named Scylla one of the 10 finest small restaurants in the country.

Stephanie closed Scylla after three years, and in the fall of 2007, she competed on Bravo’s Fourth Season of the popular show Top Chef®, where she won the title and was selected as fan favorite.

Chef Stephanie is opening the Chicago-based restaurant, The Drunken Goat, featuring innovative flavor combinations that take comfort-style dishes to the next level. She is also working on her first cookbook and currently conducts cooking demonstrations across the country.

She believes that a strong foundation has attributed to her success. In her words, "The rewards keep coming [for me] and it all started with culinary training."

To find out more about Izard, check out her podcasts, The Tasty Life, on her Web site at or follow her on Twitter @StephanieIzard.

Career success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. The experience of this alumnus is not representative of all students. This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates. Graduates should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities in their chosen fields.