Mader has a vision. Scion of the fabled Milwaukee restaurant family,
Mader is focused on building his Trad to Rad brand, which reflects his
cooking style of adding unique flair to traditional recipes. He’s
compiling his recipes into a cookbook, with plans to open a restaurant
and create a private food label. Who knows what else lies in the
future, perhaps even being a celebrity chef.
His first steps
on this journey came as a tyke. For him, Mader’s, the century-plus
German eatery in downtown Milwaukee, remains one of the most wonderful
places on earth. Yet when he was young, Mader didn’t fully
understand just how famous the place was. But he knew that there was
something special about it, especially when it came to his
grandfather, Gus, whom he adored.
Then, of course,
there were the old weapons, wood carvings, suits of armor and pictures
of the famous patrons who had dined there, plus the soda fountain.
That package comprised everything that a kid could love.
granddad’s blessing when he was 6, Mader got his first job at the
restaurant: escorting guests to their tables. "That was the
beginning of what would soon become a culinary journey full of flavors
and friendships," recalls Mader. "I loved making people feel
special. You could say that ignited my passion for the restaurant
Culinary Institute of America; managed Tra Vigne in California under
Emmy Award winner and celebrity chef Michael Chiarello.
Aha Moment: Joe
Bartolotta hired Mader as general manager of Ristorante Bartolotta
from 2003 to 2004. "My time at Bartolotta’s was critical to my
full understanding of the industry," Mader emphasizes. "It
wasn’t just the lessons I learned about the freshness of
ingredients, the harmony behind perfect flavors, the sequence of
service, the attention we gave to the guest or the expectation to
overachieve on a day-to-day basis," he says. "Most
importantly, it was about the decency and kindness with which Joe
treats his employees."
"Whether you’re a chef or manager, the most important thing to
always keep in mind is that in the restaurant industry, no matter
what, the guest is always No. 1. Everything else comes secondary to
the needs and expectations of the guest."
True to His
Heritage: "My favorite German dish, hands down, is Wiener
Schnitzel ala Holstein. Nothing is better than a beautiful piece of
grass-fed veal dusted in seasoned bread crumbs, cooked to golden brown
perfection and topped with a farm-fresh egg."