Madera - Menlo Park, California
Butter tray photo © Alison Parks-Whitfield www.alisonparkswhitfield.com
Restaurant: Michelin-starred Madera restaurant is located in Menlo Park, California, just 2 miles west of Stanford University. Madera is the signature restaurant in the scenic Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel.
Chef: Executive Chef Peter Rudolph is a Northern California native dedicated to the farm-fresh foods that have elevated the region’s cuisine to national prominence. The grandson of a milkman, Chef Rudolph comes from a family that prizes wholesome food. At home, his pantry is never without nutty, grass-scented Normandy butter. On any given morning, he says, “You’ll find me in my kitchen, happy with my fingers in the butter jar.”
Butter: Chef Rudolph strives to make his butter memorable. He and his staff mold Madera’s butter at room temperature into a stark cube and present it with a delicate pool of olive oil on top. To create a textural experience, they fold mounds of sea salt into every batch; this lends a satisfying crunch to the sensuous spread. Why put so much effort into a condiment? Because “butter is magical,” Rudolph says.
Commentary: Chef Rudolph still remembers the instant he realized butter’s potential. He was a line cook in training to become a chef and cooking the same fish entree day in and day out. One evening, as he watched a large pat of French butter gently crisp a filet, he realized that the butter was communicating with him. When butter starts to boil in the pan rather than foam, it’s telling the cook, “Hey, I’m too cold,” Chef Rudolph says. When the buttery foam begins to pull away from the protein, you know the pan’s too hot. “The butter is alive,” Rudolph says, if you listen, “it’s talking to you.”
2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California 94025
(650) 561 1540