It's already been well publicized that Charlie Trotter will close his iconic namesake restaurant at the end of August. And after being in business for 25 years and breaking culinary ground countless times, you really need to go out with a bang. Trotter, no stranger to inviting famous chefs into his Lincoln Park kitchen, will blow things out with a pretty major charity dinner.
On Aug. 19, Trotter will welcome Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft CTO and author of the trailblazing six-volume cookbook Modernist Cuisine; Sean Brock, the chef/owner of Husk in Charleston and one of the most respected rising chefs in the Southeast; and Australian chef and Trotter's longtime friend, Tetsuya Wakuda, of Tetsuya's in Sydney, for a multi-course dinner.
"It's pretty serious in that Nathan has never done anything like this before," Trotter said of Myhrvold, who had Trotter out to his kitchen lab in Bellevue, Wash., for a 34-course meal recently. "I reached out to him and asked if he'd want to do this and he said he wanted to help me mark 25 years."
Trotter said that Myhrvold is the guest of honor and will prepare, along with his team, five courses. Brock and Wakuda will each do two courses and Trotter and his team will "fill in the rest," he said. "We've had lots of visitors over the years—Ferran [Adria], Daniel Boulud, etc.—and what we typically do at these events, we have the visitors determine what they want to do and we fill it out so we don't duplicate."
The menu is still being worked out and Trotter said they're just now getting the dishes that Myhrvold plans to prepare. From that, he'll ask Wakuda and Brock to prepare dishes they're known for, like Tasmanian trout or catfish, respectively. Trotter asked Wakuda, who he's known for about 18 years, to help him celebrate the restaurant. With Brock, he said he's been watching what he's been doing over the last few years and has even visited him in Charleston. "Out of the blue I called Sean and he said he'd love to do [the dinner]," Trotter said. "I love promoting the great young chefs of America."
In addition to the chefs, the dinner will also feature three renowned winemakers: Richard Geoffroy from Dom Perignon, Jim Clendenen from Au Bon Climat Winery and Alvaro Palacios of Spain's L’Ermita Vineyards.
And what would a dinner of this magnitude be without some other surprises? "I've got a few mystery chefs in the kitchen, not preparing courses but they'll be helping out." Trotter said. When asked for hints all Trotter would reveal is that it'll be two prominent chefs from Chicago, one from Boston and one from LA. "They'll be here having fun," he added.
The cost of the dinner is $2,500 per person, but the proceeds will benefit Myhrvold's personal charity, which is already guaranteed to get a check for $100,000. Trotter's is currently taking reservations for the one-seating dinner at 773-248-6228.
While it seems like this dinner will be the last big blowout for Trotter's, the restaurant will have one larger last fete on closing night, August 31. "There's another dinner happening that is potentially even more mind blowing," he said. "I can't talk about it yet. It's the very antithesis of everything I've done for the last 25 years."