Chef Charlie Trotter, The Father Of Chicago Cuisine

Posted: Feb 06, 2017


Chef Charlie Trotter
Source: Chef Didier Durand

I sit at my kitchen table counter, waiting for my Poulet Roti to be fork tender with a delicious crackling skin. I reflect on my wine selection to go along with this simple culinary ride.

I always ask myself what will be the star of the meal? The Food or the Wine? What would happen if I served it with a Coke instead? This evening however, the wine will lead.

I pick a Saint-Emilion: Prieur Des Jacobins, Grand Cru, 2000. A perfect marriage of Cabernet Franc, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. It shows a hint of earth, nice ripe cherry flavors, and a deep color. It is perfect and well-rounded for a 16-year-old wine.
I marinate the chicken in duck fat, garlic and a rub made of Herbes de Provence and crumbled salt crystals for about 24 hours. The Poulet will taste fantastic.

I did not need an excuse to celebrate. Source Chef Didier Durand

Haute cuisines’ simplicity makes me happy but this dinner put the memory of Chef Charlie Trotter on my mind. Chef Trotter was a great, talented, and passionate Chef that we will celebrate in early April of 2017. He is the Father of Chicago Cuisine.

A few years ago, I sat with him, at his kitchen counter and recall his generosity, and his excellence to never compromise. He said to me, “Only the best will do.” Charlie was known for surrounding himself with the most talented culinary, service, and wine professionals. Needless to say his cuisine was dominated by using the best ingredients and the most innovative culinary techniques of the time.

Chef Charlie brought words into an early 1990’s fledgling Chicago restaurateur vocabulary like “Degustation”, and “Prix-Fixe.” He found Chervil when no one could even pronounce it; Wild caught Saint Jacques, Micro Greens and Blown Sugar. His vision of flavors and explosion of saveurs was his excuse for pulling the sauce pan from the back burner to the front.

Monday April 3rd, 2017 marks the day of The Charlie Trotter Food & Wine Spring Festival! Please join us in a celebration when we will honor his culinary life & achievement with the unveiling of his Over Life-Size Bronze Statue, created by local Sculptor Virginio Ferrar at the magnificent Galleria Marchetti, at 825 west Erie at Halsted in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago City officials, our culinary community, and yes, wine aficionados will be present. I would be honored to see you there. (Please save the date).

I might serve some “Poulet Roti”! A votre sante!

By Chef Didier Durand February 6, 2017



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