Meet Us

Jim Webster


The lead role in the Wild Rice theater of culinary art. Brilliant and consistent performances, spiked with imagination and improvisation. Always worthy of an encore. A virtuoso!

Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts, University of Minnesota. Jim’s career began as a chef at Shiek’s Restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1979-1983. In 1983, Mary H. Rice purchased the Clubhouse on Madeline Island, sending out a headhunter in search of a chef capable of preparing food “fit for a queen”.

The rest is history! Jim was hired as executive chef and was sent on a carte blanche dining extravaganza in France to experience Michelin One, Two, and Three Star restaurants. Upon his return, Jim knew exactly what Mary had in mind for the Clubhouse, which for 17 years set the precedence for fine dining in northern Wisconsin. Wild Rice is Jim’s new stage for presenting his unparalleled menu selection.



Randy Anderson


Mary’s dining room choreographer. The maitre d’, the majordomo of hospitality, or as Randy prefers –  ”the front of the house guy”.

Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Educational emphasis in sculpture and glass blowing. Randy has served Mary’s restaurant enterprises for 20 years, primarily as the maitre d’ and wine steward at the Clubhouse.



Heidi Nelson


Her royal “accountantship” heir to the bottom line, the reckoner!

Heidi has served Mary’s organization since 1980, providing the invaluable talent of pulling in the purse strings while never compromising quality. Heidi is responsible for “crunching the numbers” for Mary’s restaurants which include, Wild Rice, Maggie’s, and Egg Toss Cafe. What ballast is to a ship, Heidi is to mary’s enterprises – always providing balance and a compass for success. Her spot-on humor is just a bonus!


David Salmela


Master builder for Wild Rice. Practices in Duluth, Minnesota. David’s work is rooted in the principal of modernism as well as the founding influence of the vernacular of Minnesota’s immigrants. Most of his work exists from the northeast tip of the arrowhead’s wilderness, down the eastern edge of Minnesota to Lake Pepin.

Since 1985, his projects have won 13 AIA Minnesota Honor Awards, two American Wood Council Awards and in 1998 brought an Architectural Records Record Houses Award for the Emerson Residence and a National AIA Honor Award for Architecture for the Brandenburg’s Ravenwood Studio. His work has been featured in over 60 articles in regional, national, and international journals, books, and publications.

David Salmela


Mary Rice


Mary Rice has always been an artist in several arenas. At age four, she recited her own “recipe” for chocolate pudding, the recipe later served as the cover for a cookbook of some of her favorite dishes. Her passion for all things culinary has never left her. Although her family has been involved with the Bayfield area since her childhood, a permanent move here from St. Paul in the early 80s allowed her to combine her retail experience (with partners she owned a cooking school and store in St. Paul) with her passion for good food.

Shortly after moving to Bayfield, she initiated a succession of restaurant purchases including Maggie’s, where the menu is as diverse and interesting as its owner, and the Clubhouse on nearby Madeline Island for formal dining. In Bayfield, Maggie’s filled the lunch and dinner slot, but what about breakfast? The Egg Toss Cafe was hatched several years later, solving the breakfast dilemma.

Along the way, somewhere between Maggie’s and the Egg Toss, Mary began to pursue another creative outlet – painting. Several of her paintings currently add to the eclectic collection of art pieces displayed at Wild Rice. The latest addition to a lifetime of cultural, culinary, and creative endeavors is Wild Rice, fulfilling Mary’s longtime dream of owning an elegant, but comfortable restaurant offering world class cuisine. Her vision, combined with the architectural talent of David Salmela, and the culinary expertise of Jim Webster, has allowed her dream to become reality. Mary is pleased to welcome you to share her latest attack of creativity – Wild Rice.