Bravo’s Top Chef is known for testing chefs in a fast paced environment with its Quickfire Challenges. Fan favorite and champion Stephanie Izard, 45, still has PTSD from her days in the kitchen on the show! “I do!” Stephanie told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY during an episode of TVTalk on Instagram Live on May 21 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cheez-Its. “It’s funny.”
The Quickfire Challenges are when the host comes out to tell the contestants, “Your time starts now.” The chefs then have typically an hour to create a very specific dish using limited ingredients. When the time runs out, the chefs are told, “Hands up, utensils down,” and the judges will critique presentation and more importantly, the food. There are several cases that the chefs don’t get to finish, ending in a kitchen disaster! The winner is usually granted immunity.
Stressful moments on the show have been hard for Stephanie, who has appeared as a guest judge on the show, to shake. “I still do a little of cooking with people on Zooms and stuff and Instagram Lives and doing different things with different companies and I’m like, “You guys have got to tell me to slow down!” Stephanie revealed. “I used to go fast for my job and you’ve got to tell me to chill out!”
Stephanie, who was the first female winner on the show, still flaunts that title proudly. “It’s awesome,” the Chicago based chef said. “I just continue to expand. I have 5 restaurants in Chicago and opening one in Los Angeles in six weeks. I’m a very chef chef so I’m in the restaurants doing all of that stuff. I’m on this fun little ride. It’s been great.”
Expanding during COVID has been tough in the industry, but Stephanie has made it work. She’s celebrating the world picking back up with a special Cheez-It Centenial cake and cupcake available at her Sugargoat Bakery. “I am a Cheez-It lover for life,” Stephanie said. “Each cake has at least a whole box of Cheez-Its in it. During last year we [at Little Goat] started shipping kits all around the country. We’ve been changing our businesses and adjusting it. It’s so exciting that we are getting to a point of being open and things are going back to a new normal. We’ve made some changes that are long lasting. Opening the bakery, shifting things around. All things that we’re learning how to do. We have our cakes on Goldbelly and we also have our meal kits shipping on Goldbelly, so wherever you are in the US you can be eating our stuff.