Charlie Trotter: tributes flood in for Chicago chef described as ‘global inspiration'

06 November 2013 by
Charlie Trotter: tributes flood in for Chicago chef described as ‘global inspiration'

Tributes have poured in for celebrated Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, who died yesterday at the age of 54.

The multi-award winning and self-taught chef, whose eponymous restaurant is widely credited for changing the city's culinary scene, was described by his peers as a "legend", a "visionary" and a "global inspiration" following news of his death.

Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in California paid tribute to Trotter on social media site Twitter: "Charlie Trotter was a visionary; one who exemplified what a young American chef could do to influence a generation. He'll be greatly missed."

New York chef Daniel Boulud also commended Trotter for the impact he had on young chefs when he took to Twitter: "Very sad day in the chef community. Charlie Trotter's influence on young American chefs was tremendous and inspiring. He will be missed greatly."

Trotter won 10 awards from the prestigious James Beard Foundation over the course of his career and his Chicago restaurant Charlie Trotter's was awarded two stars from the Michelin Guide when it debuted in the Illinois city.

However he closed the critically-acclaimed 120-cover restaurant in August 2012 after 25 years in business, revealing his plans to return to education in order to study philosophy.

Two years earlier Trotter, who was widely known for his passion for precision and details, was forced to close two of his restaurants in Las Vegas after they were hit by recession. At the time he was given the opportunity to downgrade his restaurants at the Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casino, but Trotter declined.

Rochelle Trotter, his wife and the company's director of business development, said at the time that Trotter chose "not to compromise the integrity of what we were offering".

Following the closure of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, Trotter was reported to have run into legal troubles. He was sued earlier this year by two New York wine collectors who insist that a bottle of wine sold to them for $46,000 (£28,665) was not what it said on the label.

Emergency services found Trotter unresponsive at his home in Chicago yesterday morning. He died in hospital following unsuccessful attempts to revive him.

An autopsy is scheduled for today (Wednesday), but a spokesperson for the Cook County medical examiner said that Trotter's death did not appear suspicious and indicated that he had a history of seizures and strokes.

In a statement released last night, Rochelle Trotter said: "We are incredibly shocked and deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Charlie at our home in Lincoln Park. He was much loved, and words cannot describe how much he will be missed. Charlie was a trailblazer and introduced people to a new way of dining when he opened Charlie Trotter's.

"His impact upon American cuisine and the culinary world at large will always be remembered. We thank you so much for your kind words, love and support. We appreciate the respect for our privacy as we work through this difficult time. Details for the memorial service will be forthcoming."


Anthony Bourdain -
"Rest in peace Charlie Trotter. A giant. A legend. Treated shabbily by a world he helped create. My thoughts go out to those who loved him."

Mugaritz -
On this cold night, we send a big hug to the Trotter family in Chicago. The news of Charlie's death has been devastating.
The news of his death is hard to believe.

Will Holland
RIP Charlie Trotter. I remember saving up for months to buy his books one by one. A true global chef inspiration

Michelin Guide
the culinary world lost one of its best today… so sad to learn of Charlie Trotter's passing

Frank Bruni
Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter Dead at 54: sad, sad news about a real pioneer, … via @nbcchicago
Beard Foundation
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Charlie Trotter. He will always be remembered for his talent and vision.

James Martin
Legend is often over used but just heard the sad news and loss of Charlie Trotter a true inspiration to many thoughts go to his family RIP

Matt Gillan
Just heard the sad news of the passing of Charlie Trotter. Sad times to lose a legend of our industry RIP

Philip Howard
All deaths are shocking but Charlie Trotter's is really shocking. A major game changer has gone.

Andre Garrett
RIP Charlie Trotter. Great food, great chef. Legend.

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