When Skuna Bay Salmon contacted me about interviewing the chefs that will be representing them at Taste of Derby, I figured it would be a great opportunity to showcase a unique Derby Week event. I didn't realize it would be such a great lesson about realizing your dreams through hard work and dedication. It's been amazing to hear such accomplished chefs share both their passion for cooking and their advice for success. I so adore the message that today's chef has for professional women looking to break the glass ceiling: "It's not about your gender or race or anything like that...it is about your work ethic."
Yesterday, we talked with Denver-based chef Jennifer Jasinski. Today's interview is with Stephanie Izard, Executive Chef and co-owner of Chicago's Girl & The Goat and Little Goat restaurants. Stephanie, a Connecticut native, is a James Beard Award nominee, Food & Wine's "Top New Chef" and the winner of Season Four (and the first female winner!) of Bravo's Top Chef. Stephanie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
GOLD RIVER, BC (April 27, 2013)— Skuna Bay Salmon has been selected as the “Salmon of Choice” of the historic Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Racetrack and will be served by the Churchill Downs chefs at venues throughout the race track. This year’s race is the 139th annual “Run for the Roses,” occurring next Saturday, May 4, 2013.
“We at Skuna Bay are incredibly proud to have been selected as the ‘Salmon of Choice’ for the world’s most well-known, and historic, horse race and venue. The Kentucky Derby is iconic in sports and culture. It is amazing that the 139th running of America’s Race will include some of the best chefs in North America, serving Craft Raised Salmon from British Columbia,” said Dave Mergle, Director of Skuna Bay Salmon.
The Skuna Bay partnership with the Kentucky Derby began in late 2012 after the culinary team at Churchill Downs, including chefs from Levy Restaurants, the service provider, had a chance to sample the salmon. They determined that the quality of the salmon met the Kentucky Derby’s high standards of excellence. Skuna Bay was then invited to become a preferred partner and have its Craft Raised Salmon served at the Kentucky Derby and year-round at Churchill Downs.
Both Chefs, Finalists in this Year’s James Beard Awards, will cook Skuna Bay Salmon at Taste of Derby™, a Kentucky Derby® Culinary Experience in Louisville, KY
Gold River, B.C. (April 15, 2013) — Two of America’s top chefs have signed on to prepare and serve Skuna Bay Salmon at the Taste of Derby™, the Kentucky Derby® culinary experience in Louisville, KY on May 2, 2013. Chef Stephanie Izard, Executive Chef/Partner of Girl & the Goat and Little Goat in Chicago and Chef Jennifer Jasinski from Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendôme in Denver will both proudly represent Skuna Bay Salmon at America’s Race, this year’s 139th Run for the Roses. In addition, both chefs will be paired with the two Skuna Bay Chef Challenge finalists who will be competing head to head on May 1, 2013 in Louisville, KY.
Chef Stephanie Izard from Chicago is a finalist for this year’s James Beard Best Chef Award in the Great Lakes region and is currently known as one of the top chefs in America. She has won numerous accolades including Food & Wine “Best New Chef” as well as past nominations for James Beard Awards. She is also known for winning Bravo’s “Top Chef Season 4”, the first female chef to accomplish this honor. Chef Stephanie personally visited the Nootka Sound region to inspect Skuna Bay’s sea farms in April, 2012.
Original 30 Chef Competitors Pared Down to 10: Two Kentucky Derby Chef Finalists to be Chosen April 15th in Chicago, April 18th in Los Angeles
Gold River, B.C. (April 5, 2013) — Nine grueling first round competitions pitted 30 chefs head to head in the kitchen, preparing their best Skuna Bay Salmon dish – for a chance to continue along the path to ultimately represent Skuna Bay Salmon at the Taste of Derby, the Kentucky Derby culinary experience in Louisville, KY on May 2, 2013. 10 chefs emerged and now advance to the two semi-final competitions in Chicago on April 15 and Los Angeles on April 18.
The list of 10 semi-finalist chefs:
Eric Larcom, Downtown Calgary Marriott Riley Romanin, Hooked, Vail, CO Andrew Sutton, Napa Rose at Grand Californian Resort and Spa, Anaheim, CA Ken Fazel, Tender at Luxor, Las Vegas, NV Tedd Romero, Lucy at Bardessono Hotel, Yountville, CA Carlo Lamagna, Perennial Virant, Chicago Jason Benegasi, Biba, Pittsburgh Anthony Sasso, Casa Mono, NYC Nick Cataldo, Lure Fishhouse, NYC David Yusefzadeh, Smack Shack
Gold River, B.C.:
After an exhaustive review of dozens of entries by talented chefs from all over North America, the 30 competing chefs and their dishes have been chosen. These 30 chefs will proceed into the head to head competition rounds beginning March 22, 2013 in Vancouver and 8 other competitions in Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, New York City and Minneapolis.
"These decisions were incredibly tough for the judges," said Dave Mergle, Director for Skuna Bay Salmon. "Not only were these dishes incredibly creative and unique but their execution was outstanding as well. Some of the decisions were knife-edge."
Following the first round of 9 competitions, 10 chefs will emerge and continue on to one of the two semi-finals in April - one in Chicago on April 15th and one in Los Angeles on April 18th. Out of that, 2 chefs will be chosen to travel to Louisville, Kentucky and go head to head one final time. Each will be paired with a Mentor Chef, 2 prominent chefs to be announced soon, who are at the top of their game. Both of these Mentor Chefs were named as finalists this week for the upcoming James Beard Awards.