Stephanie Izard at the Family Farmed Expo

Stephanie Izard is no stranger to Chicago's dining scene. In fact, Stephanie Izard will be no stranger to American TV viewers who watch Top Chef. In that reality show where chefs from all over America battle different cooking challenges to come out the top, Stephanie Izard scored the title and has thus returned to Chicago while adding even more energy into the vibrant local dining scene. Her restaurant, Girl & The Goat, was named after her last name Izard which is the French name of a type of mountain goat. Girl & The Goat opened just in summer 2010 and to date already has 618 reviews and counting on Yelp with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Don't even think of heading to Girl & The Goat without a reservation. In fact, you better make your reservations way in advance about 3-4 weeks prior unless you don't mind settling with a 5:30pm or 10:00pm seating.

Last weekend we attended the Family Farmed Expo that focused on supporting local farmers. Part of the expo schedule included cooking demos by local celebrity chefs. Stephanie Izard's cooking demo was scheduled at 10:30am and that meant we woke up early last Saturday to ensure we got a seat at her demo. As we know, many chefs these days follow the mantra of supporting local farmers while changing their menus periodically to support what's in season. Since the Family Farmed Expo focused on local farmers, the cooking demos were a collaboration between the celebrity chefs and their own local farmers whom they engage as a supplier for their restaurants. In the picture below, the man on her right is the local farmer whom she engages for Girl & The Goat; the boy on her left is from an after-school program that focuses on, well, food and cooking.

One thing that was very cool about the demo was that although there wasn't any live video feed on what actually went on inside the pot or on the stove top especially for people seated at the back, this mirror gave a clear view to what went on.

What did she cook at the demo? Braised goat, of course. She brought an entire goat leg to show the audience and that's also something that can be ordered at her restaurant. It feeds 6-8 people and has to be ordered in advance and costs $120 or more. One thing we learned was that she only started cooking with goat meat only 1 1/2 years ago which really isn't that long ago. Another pointer she said was that when we braise goat meat at home, be sure to save the goat fat. It is versatile and can be used with so many other dishes. Mmm now I'm thinking vegetable greens sauteed in goat fat. Or if duck fat fries taste so good, I wonder what would goat fat fries taste like.

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