to chefs around town, and ask them where they go to dine. Crazy Water
and the A.P. Kitchen often top their list. Chef and restaurateur Peggy
Magister, originally from Wauwatosa, studied at the California
Culinary Academy before returning home to Wisconsin.
Why did you
chefs are a dime a dozen out there, and if I wanted to get anything of
my own, I knew I wasnít going to have the money out there. My home
was here, and I moved back. I started a catering business, the Fork
Cafť, then opened up a restaurant of the same name in Cedarburg, and
then opened Crazy Water 13 years ago."
You opened the
A.P. Kitchen last year. Any plans to open a third restaurant?
enough for me, and my nephew (Justin Anthony) runs the A.P. I am
probably going to give that to him ó thatís in the works, and then
I wonít have too much to do with it. I am going to focus on Crazy
Water. Iím pretty hands-on ó I donít have managers and things
like that. Iím in the kitchen a lot, Iím a ma-and-pa kind of
person. Having two places was really hard to do. My nephew is doing a
great job. We see each other and talk every day, but eventually thatís
going to be his, and this is going to be mine."
How would you
describe your cooking style?
flavors with French in its roots. I use cream, I use butter and I
braise a lot of things. Thatís my starting point, then I try to
implement seasonal ingredients. I have a ton of cookbooks, a lot from
California, and I try to implement those ideas into a basic, French
background. I hit a lot of farms in Elkhorn ó my cottage is out
there ó and there is tons of produce there. What Iíd like to do
this summer is have a couple of special dinners out there. I think
that would be really nice."
What are your
favorite kitchen tools and ingredients?
is important, a good knife is important to me, and oh, a good, heavy
skillet for braising meats. Also a rolling pin. I like to bake, and I
canít live without my KitchenAid (mixer) and my food processor. As
far as ingredients, I have to have a good olive oil, sea salt, a good
pepper grinder, and then it goes from there."
Where do you get
inspiration for your cooking?
"I go to
Gloriosoís quite a bit ó I love going through there and looking at
stuff. They have butter from Italy and the cheeses are great. I also
like going to the Milwaukee Public Market. I think for most of us
chefs, when we go to a food market of any sorts, weíre like kids in
a candy store. I havenít gone to Eataly (in Chicago) yet, but Iím
sure Iíd go nuts there.
inspire me, and I love to travel. I often go to California ó my
sister lives outside of Sonoma, and I go to the Bouchon Bakery in
Yountville. Otherwise, I try to go to different places. The smartest
thing I did was open that patio in the back of Crazy Water, and that
was all inspired by a restaurant in Pasadena."