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Former Top Chef Champ Stephanie Izard Is Launching a Magazine

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Courtesy Stephanie Izard

Restaurant owner, Top Chef champ, cookbook author and James Beard-award winner Stephanie Izard is adding one more title to her lengthy resume: magazine editor.

The chef will launch goat fish, a new food, travel and lifestyle magazine this fall, Izard tells PEOPLE Food exclusively.

“Somebody brought up the idea to me six months ago and said, ‘you should do a magazine’ and I thought, ‘that’s great, but I have a lot of stuff going on,'” Izard says of the initial pitch. “But I started getting really excited thinking about different stories and what I could learn from them. When I’m that excited about something, I want to follow through on it.”

RELATED: Chef Stephanie Izard’s Secret Ingredient Hack: I Put ‘It in Everything’

Izard, who will serve as the publication’s editor-in-chef, says the quarterly magazine will include many of the things she loves the most, including food and recipes, first-person travel stories, photography, and profiles of chefs, winemakers, farmers, artists, and “all around cool people.” But unlike other chef-driven or “serious” epicurean titles, Izard says goat fish will be about “looking on the brighter side, a happy side of everything.”

To help her tell those stories, she has tapped contributors such as Joe Kwon of The Avett Brothers, mixologist Ivy Mix, and photographer Paul Octavious to bring their distinct voices to the goat fish pages. “In this industry, I’m fortunate to meet some really cool people, and a lot of musicians and other artists who are really into food—so they are happy to participate,” she says.

RELATED: Top Chef Stephanie Izard’s Wedding Menu: Chocolate Cheez-Its Cake

Following in the footsteps of other chefs who have launched magazines—including Rachael Ray, David ChangJamie Oliver, and Giada DeLaurentiis—Izard says she is not intimidated by the challenge of stepping into the world of publishing for the first time. “When I opened my first restaurant I was 27, and I had worked in restaurants but I didn’t know how to open a restaurant,” she says. “I know the publishing business is hard. The restaurant business is hard. So we’ll see where it takes us—I just want to give it a try.”

As for the name goat fish, Izard—who owns Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner and Duck Duck Goat restaurants in Chicago—took inspiration from the popular card game Go Fish: “Of course it feels good during a game of cards to ask your opponent for all of their queens and have them hand you three. But isn’t it more fun, more exciting, more invigorating, if they simply reply, “Goat Fish?’” she says in the press release.

WATCH THIS: Burning Questions with Stephanie Izard 

 

Although it’s been more than eight years since her win on Top Chef season 4, she thinks the timing is right to launch her magazine in fall 2017. “There is going to be a little resurgence,” she says of her upcoming appearance on Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet, which premieres in April. “So the timing worked out really well.”

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One of Izard’s major motivations for starting the magazine is the chance to interact with more of her fans in a new way. “I want to be able to reach an outside audience without necessarily opening restaurants all over the country. We can get our voice out there without having to literally be in all those places.”