CHICAGO – Five things to remember about acclaimed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, who died Tuesday:
1. HE WASN’T ALWAYS INTERESTED IN FOOD AND DIDN’T GO TO CULINARY SCHOOL
Culinary arts didn’t pique chef Charlie Trotter’s interest until college, when his roommate would prepare different courses for friends. Trotter was self-taught. After he graduated from college, Trotter travelled the U.S. and Europe to dine at fine restaurants. His first job was as a cook at the Chicago-area restaurant Sinclair’s, owned by famed chef Gordon Sinclair.
2. TROTTER WAS GROUNDBREAKING
He is credited as being one of the first chefs in the U.S. to prepare and serve all-vegetable tasting menus. He also was in the forefront of using organic food, naturally produced meats and seasonal philosophies of cooking.
3. HE CLOSED HIS RESTAURANT LAST YEAR TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
Trotter closed his famed Chicago namesake restaurant Charlie Trotter’s last August after 25 years. He said he was going back to college to enrol in a master’s degree program in philosophy.
4. HIS KITCHEN WAS A TRAINING GROUND FOR THE FAMOUS
Dozens of the nation’s top chefs, including Graham Elliott and Grant Achatz, worked under Trotter.
5. HE REALLY LOVED BEING A CHEF
Trotter talked to The Associated Press in August 2012 before he closed his restaurant saying, “I completely love what I do. I pinch myself every day going: ‘I make a living doing this. This is unbelievable.'” He also said, “The minute I started working in a restaurant formally as a cook or on the road to becoming a chef was like the greatest day of my life.”