I was on Facebook just now (as per usual), when I saw the breaking news -- Charlie Trotter found dead in home. I actually said, "Whoa" out loud.
For whatever reason (some my fault, some not), I have not been endowed with a lot of money this go around in life. And when I do have some extra coin, I tend to spend it on live music, it seems. I've never been a "foodie." I've never had the pleasure of The Girl and the Goat or Alinea or Next or Moto or even things like The Publican or Longman and Eagle. I just have other things to spend my money on, and most of the time I don't have that much money at one time to spend in the first place.
But Charlie Trotter was one of the first "famous" chefs, long before people like me even started to know that chefs were famous. Before I could start to recognize huge names like Bayless and Ramsey and Elliot and started to watch Top Chef and could start to name other now new famous people like Blaise and Voltaggio and Izard and such. I think at one point I knew that Julia Child was a famous cook (a COOK!) and I had maybe heard of Trotter's.
One of the things that is so neat (yes, I said "neat") about Chicago is that we have quietly built this really solid, steady food scene here. Both celebrity and not. We've done restauranteuring and food really well, especially in the last 10 or 20 years or so.
Unfortunately, Charlie Trotter was in the midst of a recent decline. His flagship restaurant had just closed last year and the articles I was reading about him had him acting sort of belligerently and sort of erratically. The reason I'm actually writing about him here, on this blog, is because honestly -- I'm really, really hoping they come back to us and say that he had a huge heart attack. That it was a stroke. That something crazy happened to his body.
Because that's not my first thought. I read these stories about famous people, especially ones who may have been having some troubles, and I fear the worst. I fear they were looking for a way out or got caught up in that bad neighborhood of their mind. I actually really hope it was his body, and not his mind, that failed him.
All my thoughts go out to his friends and family and the community at large.
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