Iconic Chicago chef Charlie Trotter has been found dead at just 54 years old, reports The Chicago Tribune.
Having never attended a culinary school, Trotter taught himself the art of cooking, reports CBS Chicago. He became interested in cook while in college (where he studied politics at the University of Wisconsin). Eventually he dropped out and began to take a serious interest in the culinary arts, in 1987 he opened his first restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, and never looked back. He will be sorely missed.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trotter Was Found Unresponsive at his Home on November 5
Paramedics were called Trotter’s home at 10:45 a.m. on November 5. His home was located in the 1800 block of North Dayton Street in Chicago (above). There, they found chef unresponsive. He was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been released.
The Chicago Tribune says that Trotter was found not-breathing by his son, Dylan.
2. He Was Just One Year Into His Retirement
Trotter had just closed his famous Chicago eatery Charlie Trotter’s which was located at 814 W. Armitage Avenue (below) in 2012, citing his desire to travel and go to college to study political theory.
3. He Was a Chicago Legend
Throughout his career he wrote 14 cookbooks, three books on management, and had lines of organic food that were distributed throughout the U.S. In 1999, he debuted his cooking show The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.
CHARLIE TROTTER: chef, mentor, trailblazer, philosopher, artist, teacher, leader. He now belongs to the ages.
— GRAHAM ELLIOT (@grahamelliot) November 5, 2013
In 2012, he was honored with the James Beard Humanitarian Award:
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4. Throughout His Career, His Ethics Shown Through
In 2002, he caused a stir when he took foie gras off the menu at his restaurants, citing ethical reasons. Though he was quick to point out that he was not bowing to the demands of animal rights groups, whom he called “idiots” and “pathetic.”
5. He Had a Cameo in a Julia Roberts Movie
He appeared in the Julia Roberts/Cameron Diaz box office hit My Best Friend’s Wedding, where he parodied the role of the angry chef, telling his assistant: “I will kill your whole family if you don’t get this right! I need this perfect.”