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The World Continues to Go Crazy for Stephanie Izard

By Anthony Todd in Food on Feb 16, 2011 4:30PM

IzardF&W.jpg This has been a good week for Stephanie Izard, and it's only Wednesday! We fully expect President Obama to appoint her Supreme Food Leader by Friday afternoon. In all seriousness, Izard has gotten two major accolades in the last couple of days, and you can participate in one of them! Saveur Magazine, which avoided restaurant reviews in the past, inaugurated a new review program with Girl and the Goat. Review might not be the right word; frantic worship at Izard's feet might be a better description. The reviewer, Dana Bowen, also enjoyed The Publican, but Girl and the Goat was "something else entirely." Izard was also nominated for Food and Wine's "The People's Best New Chef" award, and you can vote right now.

The "People's" award is a brand new addition to the "Best New Chef" award system, and while it is a shameless way for Food and Wine to gain more publicity and hand out more awards, it is also really fun to vote for your favorite chefs. Unlike the official "Best New Chef" awards, which are handed out by the experts at the magazine, these are decided by the public. Like the Grammys, we may be approaching a critical mass of awards (at what point do they stop meaning anything?) but at least we can have some Chicago pride. In the Great Lakes category, four chefs are from Chicago and another is from Peoria Heights, IL.

As always, the word "new" as used by Food and Wine is a bit misleading. Folks like Stephanie Izard, Chris Pandel and Brian Huston are hardly "new" to the culinary scene. The idea is that these chefs are slightly less established - either in their first executive chef's job, their first restaurant or something of that nature. We'd prefer F&W renamed the award, but what can you do? Anyway, some of Chicago's favorite restaurants are on the list of options: Girl and the Goat, The Publican, Tru, June and The Bristol. Don't feel like you have to vote for Izard - those are some pretty amazing candidates, and anyway, hasn't she had enough fun?