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David Martineau, Edgewater Maitre'd

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David Martineau, Edgewater Maitre'd

Postby Broadsheet » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:46 pm

At the risk of exposing his memory to posthumous attacks, I'd like to note the passing of David Martineau, the longtime maitre'd at The Edgewater hotel, on Thanksgiving Day at age 64. (My immediate thought was: He finally got a Thanksgiving off.)

Although the Admiralty Room was reportedly in decline before he left, David was there for the Edgewater's heyday, which I identify as the Rigadoon Room in the 1970s. It was a dark, intimate supper club, low over the water, with black leather banquettes, white linen tablecloths, heavy silverware, and low table lights. David, slim then in his black tuxedo, prepared tableside classics like Steak Diane, Bananas Foster, and the over-the-top, flaming Cafe Diablo. It was about the only Continental cuisine in Madison until the arrival of the Ovens of Brittany.

The wait staff also could be a bit flaming. He gave a generation of gay students, including many handsome men and good-looking women gay and straight, their start in food service.

He aimed for elegance, liked formality and pampering customers -- the Edgewater was an expensive date -- and was a showman. He liked his customers to have a good time and feel special. He also cared about food, and told me he when I last saw him that had he developed a line of sauces for Hy-Vee, his last job.

He looked after his friend Charles Lunde, the master of classical music at The Exclusive Company on State Street and a nightly customer at The Edgewater, after Charles became ill and went into nursing care. I always considered David a good-hearted Midwestern kid behind the tux. He deserves to have his picture on the Edgewater's celebrity wall, if it's still there when it reopens. I'm sure he would say that he wasn't a celebrity, just there to serve. But he was an institution.
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Re: David Martineau, Edgewater Maitre'd

Postby msnflyer » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:15 pm

RIP David.

I first met him in the early 70s when I was a culinary student at MATC. Didn't realize we were so close in age. :oops: Spoke to him often when he demo'd at Hy Vee, he had knee replacement surgery about a year ago.

Still remember his Cafe Diablo and cherries jubilee demos at the Edgewater, the height of elegance in his tux at 10 a.m. He was so continental.
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Re: David Martineau, Edgewater Maitre'd

Postby iwiw99 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:21 pm

RIP David, very sad. He had a terrific collection of old European wines from the 50s and 60s in the Edgewater cellar many with a strip label saying "Selected by David Martineau". David was great fun to taste wine with and full of good stories. While age may have taken the wind out of him, he had a great run as written above. Years ago for a graduation dinner he made my Mom a flaming after dinner drink that must have been a quarter bottle of booze. It was tableside and knocked us both out. Naturally we had a second. That was his charm.
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Re: David Martineau, Edgewater Maitre'd

Postby john_titor » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:27 am

Your posts honor him well.
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