ODESSA PIPER
Chef-Proprietor L'Etoile Restaurant
1976:
Piper establishes L'Etoile, a fine dining restaurant with seasonal menus inspired by the Midwest region, using organic local ingredients.

Odessa grew up on the New England coast in a large family with a variety of food traditions. Her education continued after high school as she farmed in Canaan, N.H. with a small group dedicated to sustainable agriculture. In 1969 Odessa moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where she helped her mentor JoAnna Guthrie open a restaurant that featured Organic produce grown on JoAnna's farm in Wisconsin's Kickapoo River valley. In her travels between the farm and restaurant Odessa discovered the area's native hickory nuts, morels and wild plums. Her excitement with the exceptional quality and diversity of the region's foods inspired her to create menus ever more reliant on season and locality. This was the impetus to open her own restaurant in 1976 which she named L'Etoile, in reference to the culinary 'mother tongue' of her midwest interpretations.

The local Farmer's Market outside L'Etoile's front door continues to provide inspiration and raw material for Odessa and her staff. In that spirit, every menu at L'Etoile opens with the dedication: "Choosing lovingly grown food from within our region helps to hold all the communities of life together. This is the happy result of sustainable agriculture. We thank you for supporting the farmers who supply L'Etoile, and for appreciating their commitment to these patient arts."
Madeleine's teaching career began as a chef-instructor of classic French cuisine and pastry techniques at the Adult Education School in Philadelphia in 1962. She then opened her own school, Modern Gourmet in Massachusetts in 1971. Chez La Mère Madeleine, the restaurant she ran with her Modern Gourmet students in Boston from 1975 to 1979, was considered by many, including Paul Bocuse, to be one of the finest in the country, receiving four stars from the Mobil Guide and five stars from Anthony Spinazzola, restaurant reviewer for the Boston Globe.

Odessa's commitment to regionally reliant cooking has advanced her menu ideas to White House menus and exposure in a variety of media including Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Wine Spectator and Sierra. Odessa is a frequent contributor to Wisconsin Public Radio and NPR, and is a consultant to The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to assisting many local initiatives for sustainable food Choices, Odessa is a member of the International Women's Forum, and serves on the Board of Chefs Collaborative 2000 and the Scholarship Committee for Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. Odessa is a Midwest Chef nominee for the Beard House awards, Odessa frequently accompanies her husband, wine importer Terry Theise on his travels through France, Germany and Austria. Her projects include opening L'Etoile's Café, developing integrated curriculum for a school of farming and cooking, and compiling a book of L'Etoiles' recipes with the philosophy that inspires them. Her restaurant L'Etoile continues to be a favorite destination within the local community, and celebrated 23 years in business this August.