It comes as a complete shock to post that Charlie Trotter died today at the age of 54. Like a lot of people, I find it hard to discuss Trotter without resorting to hyperbole, but there is little doubt that he, more than anyone else in the city, helped ignite Chicago's adventurous and progressive dining scene. Just think of the incredible number of our city's best chefs who made their way through Trotter's kitchen: Graham Elliot, Homaro Cantu, Giuseppe Tentori, Matthias Merges, Curtis Duffy, Bill Kim, Mindy Segal, and Grant Achatz (and there are many more).
His restaurant closed a little over a year ago, but Dennis was lucky enough to make a visit right before it closed. The post, which documents the multi-coursed Grand Tasting Menu, is a good way to remember why he was so important. Also, check out this post on the Chicago Tribune, which collects reactions from many Chicago chefs.