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2002 marks Charlie Trotter's 20th year as a professional chef. Although he is currently without a doubt one of the finest living chefs in America, his college degree is in political science. Much of his culinary knowledge was shaped during an intense four-year period at the beginning of his career, when he traveled a great deal to work under master chefs Norman Van Aken, Bradley Ogden, and Gordon Sinclair.

His Chicago restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, has won countless awards and critical acclaim since it opened in 1987, and it shows no signs of letting up. Charlie maintains exceptionally high standards of freshness and quality by dealing directly with nearly 100 independent, artisanal suppliers. Impeccable ingredients, combined with his masterful technique and an emphasis on dishes that are not over-rich, keep his restaurant so solidly booked that reservations usually need to be made two to three months in advance.

Despite what must be a grueling schedule just keeping a busy restaurant at the top of its game, Charlie writes cookbooks, serves on the board of the prestigious James Beard Foundation, and heads The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to high school students who want to enter the culinary trade.

Editor's Note:

Charlie Trotter died on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. The cause is currently unknown and pending the results of an autopsy. He was 54 years old.

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