Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter Found Dead at Age 54

By Sarah Freeman  |  November 5, 2013

Acclaimed chef Charlie Trotter passed away this morning in his Chicago home. Initial reports said that Trotter was found unresponsive and not breathing at 10:45 AM. After being taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, he was pronounced dead.

His famed namesake restaurant opened in Lincoln Park in 1987 and closed in late 2012. During its 25-year run, Trotter won 11 James Beard Foundation awards, including Outstanding Restaurant, Outstanding Chef and Humanitarian of the Year. He was widely regarded as a forefather of fine dining, helping to put not only the Chicago culinary scene on the map, but also forging the way for a new wave of American chefs.

Trotter helped launch the careers of chefs around the world including Grant Achatz (AlineaNext), Matthias Merges (Yusho), Graham Elliot (Graham ElliotGraham Elliot Bistro), Homaro Cantu (MotoiNG), Curtis Duffy (Grace), Bill Kim (BellyQBelly Shack) and Giuseppe Tentori (BOKAGT Fish & Oyster).

At this time, the Cook County medical examiner's office has confirmed the death but has not released the cause.