World Chefs: Trotter marks milestone by closing restaurant

Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:04am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Charlie Trotter will mark the 25th anniversary of his Chicago restaurant on Friday by closing its doors permanently so he can pursue a master's degree in philosophy.

Charlie Trotter's has won every major U.S. culinary award for its innovative American cuisine, while its wine program with over 1,800 selections from around the world has garnered equal acclaim.

The 52-year-old Chicago native spoke to Reuters about the current dining scene, his academic future and his last dinner at his restaurant.

Q: Has it been tough to close the restaurant?

A: "The hard part is settling your accounts, your affairs and in our case, (whether on) selling our wine cellar. Once we are closed, I will keep a small staff on hand. Of course, I will miss the interaction with the clients. I've been fortunate that the restaurant is almost like the old-style European salons that helped me introduce people to each other whom otherwise would have never met had they not been on the same night at the restaurant."

Q: Will you open another restaurant after your academic hiatus?

A: "I don't know what am I going to do. I would never say never to the restaurant business. It's in my blood. I'm taking a break now and I'll determine whether I'd come back to the restaurant world in one form or another."

Q: How has the industry changed over the past 25 years?   Continued...

American chef Charlie Trotter prepares a dish at his Chicago restaurant in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Kipling Swehla/Handout