The following post was was from 2012 when Charlie Trotter closed his world famous and legendary restaurant on Armitage, and chose to move on to greener and more fulfilling pastures. Earlier this week, we received the shocking news of his untimely passing. During his career, Charlie reinvented what it means to create cutting edge meals, and his food ideas have become standard fare for chefs around the world. Sure he ruffled some feathers along the way, and was known for his abrasive leadership style, but most of all, Charlie will be remembered for the amazing food he prepared, the chefs he trained, and the pleasure he shared with thousands of diners throughout the years. We will miss you Chef.
It’s been a beautiful run, but after 25 years, Charlie Trotter is calling it quits. Just like that leftover lasagna–even if it’s still good for a late-night snack–at some point you just have to say goodbye. Trotter is leaving when he’s at the top of his game. Since 1987, his Lincoln Park restaurant has been a Mecca to foodies and culinary aficionados from around the world. Not only did he introduce a new philosophy to gourmet cooking, he trained hundreds of fine chefs who have gone on to great acclaim (Grant Achatz for one). A PBS TV star and author of 14 cookbooks, Trotter was a virtual food empire, and has received a pantry full of awards and accolades. When Chicago magazine name him the “second-meanest person” in the city, he was upset because he never likes to be Number Two. I had the privilege of photographing him several times in the past 20 years, and he has always been a gentleman, generous with his time, and respectful of my craft. Here are some photos from my visits to Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.