Famed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter was found unresponsive in his home this morning and was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the Tribune reports. He was 54. In 2012, Trotter closed his landmark restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, after 25 years so he could focus on other pursuits that included pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy and political theory. A family friend says Trotter's son, Dylan, found his father unconscious and not breathing; a neighbor says Trotter's wife, Rochelle, ran outside "yelling hysterically."
Trotter was "an extreme father figure to me when it came to not just cooking but life and seeing things in a different way," says another well-known Chicago chef, Graham Elliot Bowles. "I just talked to him maybe two weeks ago and just can’t put into words just how saddened I am by all of this. It’s a huge loss, not just personally, but for the culinary world."