In 1969, Piper moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and worked with a mentor, JoAnna Guthrie, in Guthrie's restaurant, Ovens of Brittany. Piper was influenced by Guthrie, who used organic meats and produce that had been harvested or produced locally.
Piper and a partner co-founded the restaurant L'Etoile in Madison in 1976; Piper eventually assumed full ownership of the restaurant. Like Ovens of Brittany, the restaurant uses local meat and produce, including the wares of local farmers that are featured at the noted Dane County Farmers' Market (which occurs adjacent to the restaurant). L'Etoile is part of a late 20th-century movement among some restaurants to create local cuisine using only regional food ingredients. (Other such restaurants include Alice Waters' Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and Sinclair and Frederique Philip's Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.) Piper sold the restaurant in 2005.
Piper's work has been featured in Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Wine Spectator; she has been featured on NPR and on Wisconsin Public Radio. Her creations have appeared in many restaurants and on the menu at the White House.
Odessa Piper is married to the international wine importer, Terry Theise.
- "Odessa Piper: Spring 2006 Commencement Address". 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "Odessa Piper: The Pied Piper". 1996-10-25. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "L’Etoile plans to move, expand, broaden menu". 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "ODESSA PIPER Chef-Proprietor L'Etoile Restaurant". Retrieved 2014-05-24.