November 5, 2013

Charlie Trotter, RIP

The great Chicago chef Charlie Trotter has died at age 54. A couple of years ago, I wrote about having dinner in his restaurant's kitchen.


Joe Schmoe said...

Man, that's a real shame. He really was the greatest chef of his generation.

Anonymous said...

Very similar to Steve Jobs. Obsessive, focus on simplicity, assholes. Does Sailer possess these attributes(?)?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe he died of AEA. It's weird that a chef died of that. You'd think it'd be a heart attack or something.

OSS said...

Very similar to Steve Jobs. Obsessive, focus on simplicity, assholes. Does Sailer possess these attributes(?)?

Our Steve seems to be a genuinely nice guy. Even mainstream writers on the left(who have actually read what he writes) acknowledge that he's not motivated by hate.

I would say his outlook is the opposite of simplicity. The world is a very complex place, and 'experts' try to boil the answers down to simple slogans(College For Everyone! Home Ownership For Everyone! Open Borders Are Always Good! Race Is A Social Construct!) that don't pass the sniff test.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Trotter, famed Chicago chef, found dead in home

Master Sommelier Larry Stone who served as Trotter's Sommelier in the late 80s and early 90s returned to work with him last year to close up his restaurant.

"He was a great inspiration in my life and a fantastic partner," said Stone.

Stone, who is now with the Quintessa Winery in Napa Valley, said Trotter and his family were aware that Trotter had a brain aneurysm and Trotter told Stone that he was resigned to it.

"It was a time bomb and he felt that he didn't have a lot of time left. It was inoperable and it was not something that could be repaired, it was deep inside the brain," Stone said.

As a result of his medical condition he was told by doctors that he should not be flying, should not be in high altitudes and should not exert himself because of the pressure on his brain. A friend of the family said he spoke at the Jackson Hole Culinary Conference Sunday night.

"I think that's why he had to give up the restaurant ultimately, he realized he had to change a few things in his life," said Stone. "He loved the craft so much he didn't want to give it up, it was so very hard for him to give up."

Stone believes that he may have been misunderstood because Trotter was not the type of person to ask for sympathy. He said a number of years ago he went to the Mayo Clinic after he was first having dizzy spells and had collapsed.

"It was obvious he had problems and he had some seizures," Stone said. "It's a condition that had worsened in the last few years but it was something he had for quite a while."

Stone said Trotter didn't let his health get into his way.

"He said, 'When your time comes, it comes.' He didn't dwell on it. I don't think it made him very happy to know that he had a condition that would incapacitate him in some way," said Stone. "He realized there was not much you could do...He never wanted anything to interfere with his craft. He was driven by his love of what he did and a desire to be better and better at it. That's what drove him from the very beginning."


Anonymous said...

Trotter recently got into some Deep Do-Do for allegedly selling counterfeit rare wine to some Albanians.

If Rahm doesn't intervene directly and make this one go away - like the Donald Young investigation - then it might get very ugly.

BTW, is anyone out there still curious as to who murdered Donald Young?

Or has that gone the way of wondering who actually perjured themselves - Clarence Thomas or Anita Hill - and why the perjurer wasn't indicted on perjury charges?

Anonymous said...

Don't look like food to me.

Albert said...

From your original post on Trotter:

"From an HBD perspective, what was interesting was that, in the year 2000, 29 of the 30 chefs in his kitchen were men. Cuisine at this level is so far outside my field of expertise that I can't begin to speculate upon any specific reasons. "

I've no idea if the restaurant industry has changed since Bourdain published Kitchen Confidential, but he describes the kitchen as a confrontational, masculine work environment. Very crude and very direct. I'm sure there are women who can handle and may even enjoy that kind of banter and give and take, but it surely isn't a majority of the fairer sex.

Anonymous said...

Albert, Bourdain talks about the biggest reasons in the book: stamina and dependability. You spend the beginning of your career spending 12-14 hours a day, 6 days a week, doing prep or in front of the stove. A lot of women aren't up to it.

I have two friends who are chef-owners. The guy has never, in 25 years, had a female cook. The woman came into the restaurant world from catering 5 years ago, and she had a few women work for her, none lasting more than a few weeks. She's since hired nothing but men, and she admits that the fact that she wants to work less means has to have people she can trust to pick up the slack.

As Bourdain writes, there's no banging in sick in the restaurant biz. I don't feel good, the kids are sick, whatever; you're either there working or you're gone.

It may be some Julia Child Effect, but Boston just happens to be Ground Zero for chicks in checks. Of the top 25 restaurants in the area, probably 40% have woman chefs or owners. The only 2 who've been at it for more than 10 years and are still in the kitchen are Barbara Lynch, a self-described Southie project girl used to hard work, and Ana Sortun, another James Beard award winner schooled and battle tested by the ancien regime hardasses in Paris.

Anonymous said...

Don't look like food to me

Precisely! That's why they need all this explaining to do. Basically, the same scam as with "fine" wines. Serve this stuff to an unsuspecting "expert" at a McDonalds and he will proclaim it barely passing.

Anonymous said...

Basically, the same scam as with "fine" wines.

That's what everybody says right up until they get a chance to taste the good stuff.

Then the lightbulb goes off in their head...

Anonymous said...

I dunno if I want to eat anything from a chef named Trotter. It might cause diarrhea.

jody said...

how many women even have a michelin star? it can't be more than a few.

Anonymous said...

Trotter's wife was black:

Anonymous said...