Iconic Chicago chef Charlie Trotter dead at 54


Video courtesy Chicago PBS station WTTW

Famed chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter died Tuesday at the age of 54 in Chicago. According to the Chicago Fire Department, he was found unresponsive at home by his son. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. His cause of death is not yet know. Mayor Rahm Emanuel marked Trotter’s passing with this statement:

“Charlie Trotter changed Chicago’s restaurant scene forever and played a leading role in elevating the city to the culinary capital it is today. Charlie’s personality mirrored his cooking – bold, inventive and always memorable. Charlie Trotter will be remembered for serving the finest food and his generous philanthropy, and he will always have a seat at the table among Chicago’s legendary figures.” Trotter had an unusual path to the kitchen. He first developed an interest in cooking in college (where he was a political science major), by watching his roommate prepare meals. Trotter was an entirely self-taught chef and opened his eponymous restaurant in 1987. Over the course of his career, he received 10 James Beard awards and was credited with making Chicago a staple on the gourmet culinary map. Trotter closed the restaurant in 2012. Shortly after his announcement, member station WTTW in Chicago looked back at Trotter’s career and what was behind his decision to shutter his namesake restaurant in the video above.