Stephanie Izard: What I've Learned From My Mistakes
The 'Top Chef' champ recalls some her biggest life lessons.
Stephanie Izard may have walked away a championship on Top Chef, but that doesn't mean she hasn't had some missteps along the way. Since her 2008 win, the Cheftestant has had some ups-and-downs—though she may not prefer to see it that way.
"When I sat down to write about mistakes that have led to my success, I had a much tougher time coming up with them than Iíd expected," she tells Yahoo. "Heck, I am sure I've made hundreds of mistakes! Thing is, I often don't look at them that way."
While she admits that she has faltered—particularly when it has come time to staffing and opening a restaurant—she remains a no-regrets kind of Cheftestant.
"I often just go for an idea without taking the precautionary measures that others would," she says. "Though I am in a great place in my career and would not change anything in my past, I've also learned to surround myself with smart and trustworthy people and to let them talk me into slowing things down a bit from time to time."
While her fearlessness helped with her Top Chef competition, it sometimes yields some gross culinary creations these days, she admits.
"This has happened so many times over the past few years," she says. "You would think I would learn from this mistake, but it just seems to not sink in! I get a dish prepped and almost ready to go, and we put it on the menu. I go to pre-shift and tell the servers all about our amazing new dish. Then at our 4 pm tasting we put one up, and it's nasty. Not the flavors I imagined at all. No idea popping in my head of what would make the dish work. Time to reprint menus, tell all the servers the dish was a failure and sulk for a bit. If I would just work on a dish a day before I planned to change the menu, I would save myself from the added stress and feeling dumb around the cooks and servers."
Sometimes it works out, however: "On the flip side, when a dish comes together seconds before we open, it is an amazing feeling. So I'm guessing the planning—and tasting—ahead lesson probably won't happen anytime soon."
Despite the ups and downs, she notes, "But in the end, most things worked out just fine."