Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chef Charlie Trotter Passes

Sorry for the lack of posting lately ... I have some topics in the hopper just waiting for a lull in a very busy fall. In the meantime, it's worth noting that Charlie Trotter died today. For those who are relatively new to the foodist world, the name might not mean much, because he doesn't fit the mold of the current "celebrity chef." A lot of what we take for granted in the current American restaurant and food landscape is due to the vision and efforts of Trotter, however. He opened his landmark Chicago restaurant in 1987 and many darlings of today's national food press are proteges or friends. If you were lucky enough to catch his short PBS series The Kitchen Sessions, you were able to see a master at work. I'm proud to say I own autographed copies of the book from that series and of his "Dummies" book.

This article from The New York Times gives a little insight into how influential he was in shaping the way we eat in 2013.

Charlie Trotter, Chicago Chef, Dies

A few other points worth mentioning:
  • Tasting menus are all the rage in fine dining. He started the trend.
  • Ditto vegetarian tasting menus.
  • Trotter's was the first restaurant I'd heard of to pair non-alcoholic beverages with courses. I've since enjoyed similar service a couple of times at Nashville's Catbird Seat restaurant.
  • Trotter also introduced a "chef's table" that was in the kitchen of the restaurant; now chef's tables or counters are all over the place. In fact, the entire Catbird Seat restaurant is essentially a chef's table.


Brenda Carroll said...

He was one of a kind and his talent will be missed but hope his accomplishments and changes will remain. He did quite a bit during his short life that hopefully his protégés will carry on the tradition of studying food, ingredients, changes, etc...

TLF said...