Isthmus' first article on Madison's number-one chef is almost as old as the paper itself. It's from Aug. 20, 1976, when Piper was 23 and about to launch a new Madison restaurant called L'Etoile. Piper had gotten her start at Ovens of Brittany, where she first latched on to the notion of using locally produced ingredients, changing the menu to reflect the growing season.
The rest is history. L'Etoile became Madison's most celebrated restaurant, and Piper went on to be featured in books and win prestigious awards. Her culinary creations have even been served at the White House.
Piper sold L'Etoile to chef Tory Miller and his sister Tracy in 2005 and no longer resides in Madison full time. But her influence will be on the menu here for some time to come.