Get to know Madison-voted best chef: David Heide

Davide Heide of Liliana's is voted best chef
Get to know Madison-voted best chef: David Heide
David Heide

Get to know the Best of Madison-voted chef, who runs two restaurants- Lilana’s in Fitchburg and Charlie’s on Main in Oregon.

When did the cajun/creole bug bite you? What do you like most about this style of cooking?

My parents met in New Orleans, so it’s been close to my heart from the beginning. I also love that there are so many different cultures in NOLA, so when I styled my restaurant as “New Orleans style,” it gives me a lot of creative freedom as a chef. I can make anything from French, to African, to Native American and it can still be considered New Orleans style.

Liliana’s jambalaya. Has the recipe been the same from the beginning, or do you ever tweak it?

It’s been the same since the beginning.

What’s your favorite item to pick up at the Dane County Farmers’ Market?

Farmer Johns’ cheese curds.

Who are some of your culinary influences, idols or people you admire?

My dad is an amazing influence, but my mom is an amazing support as well. I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without both of them.

So you opened Charlie’s on Main in 2015 in Oregon (voted best new restaurant this year)–what was the inspiration to open this place?

I’d been looking to branch out with my catering business and do more locally inspired food. When I found the space for Charlie’s on Main and that it was able to accommodate both, I was overjoyed. Our focus is on locally inspired, really good food. We want everyone to feel at home at Charlie’s while knowing that the ingredients in their food came from local places.

What are some of the must-haves at Charlie’s on Main?

The frites! They’re Charlie’s (Chef Dave’s son and restaurant namesake) favorite. Our Shepherd’s Pie, both meat and vegetarian versions, have been on our menu since we opened and have been a crowd favorite since day one.

How does it feel to be voted best chef in the Best of Madison 2017 poll?

It’s such an honor. There are so many amazing chefs in the area, so to even be nominated is a huge deal.

Click here for the full Best of Madison 2017 Food and Drink listing.