Charlie Trotter Found Dead

From today’s Chicago Tribune:

Charlie Trotter, whose eponymous Chicago restaurant was considered one of the finest in the world, has died.

The 54-year-old chef was found unconscious and not breathing in his Lincoln Park home this morning and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Trotter was found by his son Dylan at the home in the 1800 block of North Dayton Street and an ambulance was called at 10:45 a.m., according to a family friend and fire officials.

“Very sad day in the chef community,” tweeted celebchef Daniel Boulud. “Charlie Trotter’s influence on young American chefs was tremendous and inspiriing. He will be missed greatly.”

I always regretted never making it out to his restaurant in Chicago before he left the life. But I do remember his anecdote about how to move a lingering couple out of its table in order to prevent a backup. A manager would come over and invite the couple to tour the kitchen, meet the chef, and have a complimentary after-dinner drink at the bar. That’d work for me.

But I’m beginning to think there’s something to “leaving the life” and its effect on one’s health. Not that Trotter retired, per se. He went on to study philosophy—though he did retire from the business. I had heard Trotter planned on finally getting through his personal wine cellar and finishing it all off before he died. Sadly, this was not to be. (The wines from his restaurant were auctioned off last year at Christie’s for close to $2 million.)

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