In a move that illustrates the impact of his legacy, the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago have declared August 17 “Charlie Trotter day” to pay homage to the chef who’s been credited for raising the bar in fine dining and reshaping America’s culinary landscape.
The day marks the opening anniversary of his namesake restaurant, which was awarded two Michelin stars over its 25-year run and during its heyday was considered one of the best dining destinations in the country.
Trotter is also credited with popularising the concept of a tasting menu in the US as well as vegetable-centric menus and the chef’s or kitchen table.
To pay tribute to the late chef, Trotter alumni and chef friends across the US are being challenged to take part in The Trotter Project, spearheaded by former protege Homaro Cantu. Participating chefs are asked to create a single dish inspired by Trotter and to donate proceeds to the charitable organisation, which funds programs centred around culinary arts and education.
On social networks like Twitter and Instagram, Cantu ― chef-owner of Moto restaurant in Chicago ― has succeeded in rallying support from friends like Jacques Pepin and Mario Batali, who sent short video messages on Instagram.
The list of official alumni supporters also includes chef heavyweights like Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.
The Trotter Project is being organised August 16 to 17.