Charlie Trotter Dies: Self-Taught Chicago Chef Was 54

Image: Charlie Trotter Dies: Self-Taught Chicago Chef Was 54

Wednesday, 06 Nov 2013 06:39 AM

By Morgan Chilson

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Charlie Trotter, the famous self-taught chef whose Chicago restaurant is considered one of the best in the world, was found dead at his home Tuesday morning, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Trotter’s son Dylan found his father about 10:45 a.m. and called an ambulance, the Tribune said. A neighbor saw Trotter’s wife Rochelle outside the home “yelling hysterically.”

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An autopsy is scheduled; foul play is not suspected in Trotter’s death.

Trotter, 54, opened his eponymous restaurant in 1987, becoming almost instantly famous for his creative approach to cooking and what the Tribune called his “never-repeat-a-dish dictum.” He’s received numerous honors over the years, including Outstanding Chef from the James Beard Foundation and his restaurant being named as the best in the nation by Wine Spectator magazine.

But even more than the honors and the food, Trotter can be attributed with launching many well-known chefs on their career paths, and many of those spoke to the Tribune about his death. Los Angeles chef David LeFevre, who owns MB Post and Fishing With Dynamite, called Trotter “the most important guy in my career.”

“I think I can attribute the majority of my attention to detail and the majority of my awareness of what it takes to run a fine dining restaurant to him,” he told the Tribune. “He had a very acute sense of attention to detail and he saw things that most people didn’t see. All of us who worked for him are better chefs because we came out of that kitchen.”

Social media lit up with people, many well-known chefs, remembering Trotter’s contributions.

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