Charlie Trotter, Famous Chicago Chef, Has Died At 54 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Charlie Trotter, Famous Chicago Chef, Has Died At 54

Charlie Trotter, whose eponymous Chicago restaurant became an institution and helped pave the way for innovative small dishes that featured fresh and unique food, has died at age 54.

His death is being reported by The Chicago Tribune, citing police and family sources. The newspaper reports that Trotter's family discovered him unconscious at home Tuesday morning. He was reportedly rushed to the hospital, but did not survive.

In the hours since NBC Chicago first reported the news of Trotter's death, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office released a statement praising the late chef for playing "a leading role in elevating the city to the culinary capital it is today."

Famous for his relentless quest to fill three daily tasting menus with creative dishes, Trotter helped bring a new dimension to fine dining in Chicago and beyond when he opened his restaurant in 1987. His menus bypassed heavy sauces for a lighter approach, often highlighting ingredients that were once rare in fine dining.

"The taste of free-range and organic products is so much better than the alternative," Trotter was quoted as saying on his website. "It is also good to know that you are eating unadulterated food and supporting farmers and growers who are directly connected with the land."

His Chicago restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, closed in 2012 after nearly 25 years of operation. It regularly won five stars from the Mobil Travel Guide, in addition to being on Restaurant Magazine's list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants for nearly a decade.

The restaurant's closing last year was the biggest local culinary story of 2012, according to the Chicagoist site.

"Everyone you've heard of, including luminaries like Grant Achatz, Graham Elliot, Homaro Cantu, Mindy Segal, Bill Kim, Beverly Kim and Curtis Duffy came out of Trotter's kitchen," the site reported. "Ironically, the successes of these luminaries probably contributed to the closing."

Trotter and his restaurant also won 11 prestigious James Beard Foundation awards, ranging from Outstanding Chef to Humanitarian of the Year. The eatery was named Outstanding Restaurant in 2000.

Those accomplishments came despite the fact that Trotter never attended culinary school. Instead, he relied on his own tastes and the training he got working in restaurants in Chicago's North Shore area and elsewhere.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Tracking The World's Famous Most Unread Books

NPR's Tamara Keith speaks to Jordan Ellenberg about his part-serious, part-playful Hawking Index, which is an e-book-era mathematical measurement of how far readers get into books before giving up.
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

What Could $100 Million Buy You — Besides Campaign Ads In Kentucky?

Spending on the Kentucky Senate race might reach $100 million. So what else could that get you in the Bluegrass State? NPR's Tamara Keith finds out when she calls up some local business owners.
NPR

Tech Week: Google's World Cup Play, Amazon Sued And Kids Tracked

Also in this week's roundup, a tech company that may not exist, using sensors to keep your plants alive and what the debate over sandwich taxonomy teaches us about innovation.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.