Charlie Trotter, whose eponymous Chicago restaurant became an institution and helped pave the way for innovative small dishes that featured fresh and unique food, has died at age 54.
His death is being reported by The Chicago Tribune, citing police and family sources. The newspaper reports that Trotter's family discovered him unconscious at home Tuesday morning. He was reportedly rushed to the hospital, but did not survive.
In the hours since NBC Chicago first reported the news of Trotter's death, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office released a statement praising the late chef for playing "a leading role in elevating the city to the culinary capital it is today."
Famous for his relentless quest to fill three daily tasting menus with creative dishes, Trotter helped bring a new dimension to fine dining in Chicago and beyond when he opened his restaurant in 1987. His menus bypassed heavy sauces for a lighter approach, often highlighting ingredients that were once rare in fine dining.