[Photos: Eater Chicago]
On a blustery November early evening in Lincoln Park, around 100 of Chicago's most renowned chefs, former Charlie Trotter's employees, and assorted mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil to pay respects to the deceased iconic chef, Charlie Trotter. A barrage of news trucks and camera crews crowded the entrance to Trotter's shuttered namesake restaurant and people stood on fences to absorb the solemn moment mere hours after the chef passed away.
Art Smith, Graham Elliot, Homaro Cantu, Bill Kim, and Giuseppe Tentori spoke of devastation and heaped praise on Trotter. Smith, who also noted the passing of the gay marriage amendment that day, thanked Trotter for being "the first one to accept me" as a gay chef. Other notable appearances included Mindy Segal, Michael Muser, Michael Taus, and Jennifer Trotter.
After the speeches, the crowd lined up on the sidewalk in single file, from Berco's Popcorn to Dayton Street, and lit up the dense fall evening with candles, placing them beside a small memorial on the restaurant's front steps.
Many of the chefs relocated around the corner to The Store on Halsted, which used to be a frequent after-work watering hole for Trotter's employees, for a wake of sorts. The bar was packed with ex-Trotter's employees sipping beer who grew silent and fixated on the TVs when the first Trotter segment aired on a local news station. They booed when one broadcaster mentioned the art student scandal from August. "The blood runs thick," Homaro Cantu noted.
· All Charlie Trotter Coverage [-ECHI-]
· Reports: Charlie Trotter Dead at 54 [-ECHI-]