Charlie Trotter, who put Chicago on the map as a food destination, brought serious recognition to American cuisine and was one of the first to promote sustainable sourcing died suddenly yesterday at the age of 54.
All of us who enjoy eating in restaurants — and all of you who run restaurants — owe a great debt of gratitude to Chef Trotter.
Learn more about Charlie Trotter in this NYT article and this piece on NPR, in which the president of the James Beard foundation, says Trotter told her that chefs are like musicians: “That every ingredient is like a musician’s note, and he laughed and said, ‘My father must have known I must have wanted to be a chef after he named me Charlie after Charlie Parker, the great jazz musician.’ He was somebody who really took the artistry of cuisine to another level.”
A while ago, I heard an interview with Charlie, in which he explained that fine dining is one luxury available to almost everybody. In the interview, Charlie points out that a fine meal costs about $100 an hour and involves about 80 people. By contrast, he explains, a decent plumber in San Francisco costs at least $115 an hour and he’s by himself.
Good point. We’ll miss your creativity, spirit and wit, Charlie Trotter!