David Myers Remembers Charlie Trotter
We chatted with Trotter alum David Myers (Comme Ca, Hinoki & the Bird) yesterday about his experience working with the late chef/legend and he shared an array of interesting anecdotes. He fondly remembers not only Trotter's leadership but his kindness and appreciation for his staff:
We did a lot of events. I was fortunate enough to be invited to one in Oregon and I just remember showing up to the restaurant at 5 AM, after a very long Saturday night service. Charlie shows up and goes, "there's something wonderful and hallucinogenic about lack of sleep," and he just kind of laughed as we got packed up and ready. But the way he took care of his people - his generosity was just incredible. He upgraded the whole team to first class on that flight and sat in economy himself. You just see the character in a man like that in those actions.
On how he treated friends and family in the restaurant:
Friends or family would come in and he would just blow them away with the tasting menu. He'd ply them with wines and just make them feel special, and afterwards he would load them up with bags filled with his books, and knives and spices. He inscribed every one individually with a really heartfelt note. There no blanket statement, the impact that he made.
We also touched on Trotter's professional reputation. Everyone in the industry seemed to have strong viewpoints on the chef one way or another due to his mercurial personality. Myers tells us:
If he was any less intense, I wouldn't have had the level of interest I had. Coming up working in different restaurants, everyone has a different opinion on him. I am from the camp that thinks he was nothing short of amazing. A lot of the people worked for him for a very short period of time, they never got in on that circle...By the way, that proving yourself never stops. It never gets easier. But you get to see that different side to him as tough as he was which was needed. Part of his success was he was tough but he was equally more generous and kind than most people would ever imagine.