Acclaimed Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter Has Died

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Award-winning Chicago chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter has died at 54, The Chicago Tribune reports.

The chef was reportedly found unconscious at his North Dayton Street home by his son, who called an ambulance at 10:45 a.m. Trotter was wheeled out on a stretcher and transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. As the Tribune reports, Trotter's wife was spotted "yelling hysterically."

A celebrity chef known both for his demanding leadership and his humanitarian spirit, Trotter opened his self-named restaurant on Chicago's Armitage Avenue in 1987. Famed for its tasting menu, it soon developed a reputation as one of the finest in the world; when it closed in 2012, the Wire's Adam Martin ran down some of the many food trends Trotter pioneered.

The chef amassed cooking awards and briefly got his own PBS cooking show in 1999, but as The Los Angeles Times notes, he was dogged by business troubles late in life, including an ill-fated "high-end deli" and a similarly short-lived Restaurant Charlie in Las Vegas. Described by Graham Elliot Bowles, another celebrity chef who worked under Trotter, he "was an extreme father figure to me when it came to not just cooking, but life, and seeing things in a different way."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.