Chef Peter Madden
I cannot say that my career was spawned by childhood memories of cooking with Mom or from the love of food as I matured. I became a Chef because I love restaurants and kitchens. I love the stress, pressure, and challenge that comes with the environment. I love a restaurant’s dynamic nature and engaging with guests. Eventually I came to love the food as well, and now, beyond 25 years into it, I continue to love all of those same aspects of the business.
Food is such an important part of our culture. For some, dining is the end all, be all and for others, it is just a way to provide sustenance to the body. Regardless of the reason, my goal when creating or preparing food is simple; whatever it is, do it well. I love cooking; I love hearing that something I made was fantastic, I love creating something for the first time, realizing that it is good and then having someone proclaim that it is the best thing they have ever eaten.
I have come to realize that owning a restaurant is a business of service; service to those who enter our establishment, to those who are employed with me, and to our community. This is what dictates everything we do at Madden’s from the food we make to the policies and procedures we have in place for our staff. Developing new systems to better serve our guests, and to maintain that level of service, play as big a role at Madden’s as the development of our cuisine. The relationship between myself and our guests is extremely special to me. That someone has made a conscious decision to come to my restaurant is very moving. It tells me that I have created a product that someone is willing to invest time and money into. There are so many dining choices in our community; what an honor to have anyone step into my restaurant; what tremendous honor to serve them. I will always do my best to meet or exceed the expectation that each of our guests has for Madden’s. I have a great appreciation to our patrons for being honest, critical, and forthcoming when it comes to their visits to Madden’s; good or bad, I am happy to be informed. In the end, I hope that my career is defined by my service to others, rather than by my cuisine.
I have worked in several types of food service outlets; from pizza joints to fine dining. Each of those experiences has shaped my career, and now, as a Chef and restaurateur, I continue to self-educate and challenge myself through research, experimentation, competition and networking.
On personal note: I am a proud Husband to Tara Madden, and an extremely happy father of Lola and Ruby Madden. It is a mystery why God makes us do and wait for the things that are important in our lives, but I have no doubt that his reasons are fantastic ones. My girls being born and my marriage to my wife will remain the most important events in my life. I am forever grateful for the blessings Christ has bestowed upon my family and me, and I pray that my life will continue to be filled with His passion and will.
Seared Salmon with scalloped sweet potatoes, sautéed kale with pine nuts, and avocado vinaigrette
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes 1 lb
Shredded Cheese 4 oz
(Your choice; white cheddar, jack or a mix)
Heavy whipping cream 1.5-2 oz
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the potatoes and slice along one side of the potato to create a level surface
- Slice the potatoes about 1/8th of an inch thick using a mandolin, or slicer. If neither of these tools is available, use your knife. Slice along a second side of the potato to create a level, smooth surface. Set the potato on one of the sliced surfaces; this will stabilize the potato while you cut thin slices from the other flat surface. Use the entire potato.
- Apply olive oil to the inside of your cooking vessel to lubricate (a casserole dish works best) 5 inch by 5 inch will work well
- Layer some of the sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish to completely cover it.
- Sprinkle with a bit of cheese, salt and pepper, and drizzle lightly with the cream.
- Repeat this process until all ingredients are used. You should be left with a layer of potatoes that has cheese, salt, pepper, and cream on it.
- Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes
- Remove the foil and bake an additional 7 minutes to brown the top
- Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting. Or serve immediately
Avocado 1 each
Shallot .5 oz
Garlic 1 small clove
Red bell pepper 1 oz piece
Jalapeno 1 each, small
Lime juice 1 each
Cilantro 1 Tablespoon chopped
Red wine vinegar 1.5 oz
Extra Virgin olive oil 3 oz
Olive oil 3 oz
Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the shallot, garlic, red bell pepper, and jalapeno (seeds removed) very small and place into a mixing bowl
- Split the avocado in half, remove the seed and without cutting through skin, use the tip of your knife to cut the flesh into small cubes
- Add the avocado and cilantro to the bowl and fold together
- Add the lime juice, vinegar and oils and fold together; you can mix vigorously if you desire the vinaigrette to be a little creamy. This will smash some of the avocado pieces and create the creaminess. You may just fold them in and leave the avocado chunky.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning
- Preheat a sauté pan with olive oil. Once you see a few wisps of smoke begin to rise from the pan, add the kale and pine nuts (spinach or other dark greens, or a mix) and quickly work them to soften the leaves. You want to do this quickly; you are not trying to create a watery mess, just wilting the greens. This should not take longer than 45 seconds to a minute.
- In general salmon is very easy to prepare. I always recommend fresh and wild fish, however, that is not always an option. If you are visiting a local grocery, I think previously frozen wild wins out over farm raised. A 5-6 oz portion is appropriate. If searing, heat a sauté pan until hot; it should not be smoking hot. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan and place the salmon filets into the pan. Sear on medium heat until a brown crust forms on the seared side of the salmon. Flip and sear the opposite side in the same way. The cook time depends on the thickness of the filets and how you prefer your salmon prepared. Unfortunately this method produces a lot of oil splatter and mess. Alternatively you can broil the salmon close to the heating element in your oven to get the brown crust, then move it to a lower shelf and oven roast it for a few minutes at 375 degrees to achieve the doneness you desire.
- Place the kale directly onto the plate and top with scalloped potato. Set your medium rare to medium seared or grilled salmon on top of the sweet potato and ladle about an ounce of avocado vinaigrette over the top being sure to stir it well and get a lot of the chunkiness to come along.