Nation & World News

Charlie Trotter, Famous Chicago Chef, Has Died At 54

By Bill Chappell on November 6th, 2013

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/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

President Obama Welcomed To India With A Significant Hug

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the Obamas at the airport in New Delhi, starting off a three-day trip. The leaders are expected to discuss trade, climate change and global terrorism.


New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks during an NFL football news conference at Gillette Stadium, on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass. Belichick defended the team against allegations they had cheated by using underinflated footballs in a championship game.

Patriots’ Coach: Team ‘Followed Rules’ On Inflation Of Footballs

Bill Belichick says that after an exhaustive investigation he determined that temperature differences between the locker room and the field inadvertently caused the discrepancies.


Crew members carry a bag containing the body believed to be a victim of AirAsia Flight 8501 to a waiting helicopter on the deck of Indonesian Navy ship KRI Banda Aceh, on the Java Sea, Indonesia, on Friday.

First Attempt To Lift AirAsia Fuselage Fails

Ropes supporting the core piece of wreckage as it was lifted from the sea floor snapped just as the fuselage neared the surface, officials say.


A passerby watches a TV news program reporting two Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto, left, and Haruna Yukawa, held by the Islamic State group, in Tokyo, on Friday.

Video Purports To Show Beheaded Japanese Hostage

The unconfirmed video was released after a deadline to pay a $200 million ransom for the lives of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yakawa passed. It appears to change the Islamic State kidnappers’ demands.


Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near the burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday.

Ukraine Rebel Leader Claims New Attack On Mariupol

The attack follows a rebel rocket barrage that hit an open-air market in the port city, killing at least 15 civilians.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments