What chefs really keep in their kitchens

Do you never wonder what chefs really cook at home? Or how they stock their pantries and choose their restaurants? Wonder no more darlings! Bravo’s Top Chef Winner and fan-favourite of the fourth season, Stephanie Izard, tells all in this exclusive DolceDolceinterview.

Stephanie began competing for the title of Top Chef in 2007. She is now scouting locations for her restaurant. It will incorporate innovative flavor combinations, taking comfort-style dishes to the next level. Her menu is sure to include tons of seafood as well as pork products. Stephanie plans to open her new Drunken Goat restaurant this fall in Chicago, so look out for it!
DD: How has being on Top Chef changed your life?
SI: In so many ways; I have the opportunity to travel all over and meet and work with so many great people.  I also never thought I would be signing autographs, it’s so surreal!                
                                                                                                                                                                      Chef Stephanie Izard                                            
DD: Why are Americans are obsessed with macaroni and cheese and other nursery foods? They are tasty, but why are they such a phenomenon?                                                                                                  
SI:  I am not sure exactly.  Comfort foods are so named because they do just that, make you feel comfortable and cozy.  Plus anything with cheese is sure to make people happy.
DD: What do you cook for your friends when you entertain?
SI: Yes, I love having dinner parties with friends; sitting around the table, drinking wine and enjoying great food while enjoying each others company is what it is all about. 
DD: What are your must-have pantry staples? Can you give us your top 10?
SI: Kosher salt, honey, sambal, sriracha, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, pistachios, marcona almonds, soy, and sherry vinegar.  
DD: What is your favourite thing to eat that you never prepare yourself?
SI: Crab Rangoon.  I just love it!
DD: Do you have any tips on spotting a bad restaurant when visiting a new city?
SI: Yes, wherever all of the tourists are. Follow the locals!
DD: Of all the top chef contestants, whose food do you like to eat best, and why?
SI: I like Antonia’s food because it is simple and prepared well, with a similar style to mine.
DD: What is your food philosophy?
SI: Excite the whole palate in every dish; balance is key.
DD: What is your favourite quick meal?
SI: Take out.  Just kidding.  I like a simple seasonal vegetable pasta with lots of grated parmesan, olive oil and lemon. 
DD: Do you have any advice on how to entertain with style on a budget?
SI: Have a potluck party. You prepare the main course and have your friends each bring a side.  If you choose a specific country or region it can be a lot of fun!
You can follow Stephanie Izard’s food-inspired adventures and recipes on her weekly video podcast and website The Tasty Life:  http://www.stephanieizard.com/?q=podcast