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Charlie Trotter Topic


awbrig
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Thanks, VeryApe for taking the time to find those quotations and transposing them here.  I was completely unaware of this reported rift between  (Trotter & Achatz).  Either way, if the Dish piece is accurate -- and we have ZERO reason to believe it isn't -- maybe the conflict between the 2 chefs has been resolved.

Is this kind of "stonewalling" common in the cheffing biz?

=R=

Elephantine egos aside, chefs have to abide by employment laws, and that means confirming dates of employment. If Chuckie the Wunderchef thinks he can wipe his employment records clean and deny that Chef X ever worked for him, he's going to have many hungry lawyers breathing down his neck, but they won't be looking for food.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Thanks, VeryApe for taking the time to find those quotations and transposing them here.  I was completely unaware of this reported rift between  (Trotter & Achatz).  Either way, if the Dish piece is accurate -- and we have ZERO reason to believe it isn't -- maybe the conflict between the 2 chefs has been resolved.

Is this kind of "stonewalling" common in the cheffing biz?

=R=

Elephantine egos aside, chefs have to abide by employment laws, and that means confirming dates of employment. If Chuckie the Wunderchef thinks he can wipe his employment records clean and deny that Chef X ever worked for him, he's going to have many hungry lawyers breathing down his neck, but they won't be looking for food.

In most traditional cases, I'd agree by default but if the chef in question has only staged or externed -- and there is no pay involved -- I'm not sure if that would be true.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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My honest viewpoint on this is that Trotter's star has almost fizzled out. He's struggling. Grant is shining bright, and becoming more and more a force to be reckoned with every day. Essentially, I think Trotter is doing whatever he can to save his sinking career. Grant certainly doesn't need the publicity.

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Did anyone notice that in the Alinea/ Achatz article in F&W there is NO mention of the Trotter months .

By Achatz.

I was thinking about it the other day when reflecting about how I've heard that the cooks at Trotters have to wash and scrub their pots and stuff after service, and remembering how impressed Achatz seemed to be that Keller would wash dishes, etc. sometimes at FL.

Most of the people I've met who have worked at CT's didn't have much to say about it.

2317/5000

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My honest viewpoint on this is that Trotter's star has almost fizzled out.  He's struggling.  Grant is shining bright, and becoming more and more a force to be reckoned with every day.  Essentially, I think Trotter is doing whatever he can to save his sinking career.  Grant certainly doesn't need the publicity.

:shock: Wow! :shock:

Ok, I think we're all kinda' feeling the same thing (about CT) but I really admire that you actually have the "onions" to say it.

And I agree about Grant. He has arrived and doesn't need help from anyone.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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My honest viewpoint on this is that Trotter's star has almost fizzled out.  He's struggling.  Grant is shining bright, and becoming more and more a force to be reckoned with every day.  Essentially, I think Trotter is doing whatever he can to save his sinking career.  Grant certainly doesn't need the publicity.

I don't know about Trotter's career sinking, I would that think he's doing OK (although I don't really know for sure). However, at this point, Achatz is doing so well, it would silly to take the "Grant Who?" attitude that Trotter was taking a few years ago. You can't really blame Trotter for using the "former CT allum" angle - I'm sure anyone would do the same thing!

I've never seen anything to imply that Achatz has a problem with Trotter, and I get the impression that Trotter doesn't really have a problem with him (as I said before, I'm sure he gives all chefs that leave before a year the same treatment, and I would guess that there are quite a lot of them).

Don't get me wrong - I love a good scrap. But lets not get ahead of ourselves here! :smile:

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Heh, thanks Ronnie.

I'm not just speaking out of my ass. What I've said has merit. We'll leave it at that.

And yea, CT is surely doing fine money-wise, and will always be financially stable. I mean, with his new place opening in New York, he'll always have his foot in the door with America's best. I just think he's lost his spark. His big claim to fame has always been that he does things differently.. conceptually speaking. He pairs flavours that aren't commonly thought of as harmonizing with one another. He was the Grant Achatz of the early 90's. Now, Grant's amuses are likely more complex than Trotter's main courses. Grant is the future, and Trotter is the past.

Now, this isn't to say that I think the avant garde is the only way to approach cuisine these days. You can certainly do delicious food, but you're going to have to have something that draws people to your restaurant. Keller for example, doesn't fiddle with all kinds of space-age concepts, but he DOES apply little twists that refresh tradition.

This is all just my personal opinion in regards to Trotter. The fact that there is no love lost between CT and Grant is fact. At least, it was last year.

Cheers all,

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I just think he's lost his spark.  His big claim to fame has always been that he does things differently.. conceptually speaking.  He pairs flavours that aren't commonly thought of as harmonizing with one another.  He was the Grant Achatz of the early 90's.  Now, Grant's amuses are likely more complex than Trotter's main courses.  Grant is the future, and Trotter is the past.

Agree with you 100% there. Growing up in London in the early 90's, the two people I always associated with Chicago were Charlie Trotter and Steve Albini! At least Albini's still doing some good work :wink:

This is all just my personal opinion in regards to Trotter.  The fact that there is no love lost between CT and Grant is fact.  At least, it was last year.

A-ha, you obviously have more insider info then I do! I guess when the most eagerly awaited restaurant in Chicago is opening down the road from your gaff, you need to deal with it...so hopefully CT has.

Edited by VeryApe77 (log)
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I think it’s just more that the climate has shifted – temporarily.

It used to be that the variety and quality of ingredients were not readily available to the general public – but now you can buy micro greens and fingerling potatoes at Whole Foods, heirloom beets and tomatoes from any farmers market and anything else you want, regardless of how obscure, is available to buy somewhere on the internet, truffles from Oregon, Yuzu Juice, morels…whatever.

Also the wine, if you want a 1986 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion or a Vonse Romanee-Conti La Tache , you can order one overnight for 1/3 of the cost of one on a restaurant’s wine list – with a single Google search - or in some cases go to Sam’s.

Also this level of food preparation was not available…now there are many, many restaurants serving the type of food you can get at Trotter’s – in part because of it’s influence on the gastronomic environment, along with other restaurants.

Because of the vast amount of information available and the speed and ease of its access, and the amount of time these things have been in existence - people have become more acclimated.

There is a role reversal going on in the world, chef’s once were the source of access to organic high quality food and giant food companies produced highly processed items.

Now Heinz is making organic ketchup and cereal companies are switching to all whole grain – chef’s are rolling foie gras in pop rocks and imitating Doritos.

I personally have no feeling about it either way, but it is something worth pointing out.

Thus people are excited by the seemingly new and unattainable “new novelle cuisine” – as they once were about the type of food served here – and some still are – it is the media that dictates what is “hot” – it does not represent the actual majority.

Everything has its peak and the excitement over novelle cuisine too will peak and pass and something new will take its place, possibly now even faster because of the speed at which things travel.

You cannot be associated with a fixed element and stay “on top” forever, and you may not ever be able to reach the “top” unless you are associated with a fixed element – each has it’s own consequence.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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this debate is cementing a great thing...the united states has great chefs...look at bocuse and robuchon...guerard and the trois gros brothers...hell, look at gordon ramsay or fergus henderson...these are all names that "pop"...however, they are names that made a mark, proved themselves, and what happened next...

the only difference is they happended in europe and Chef Trotter is here.

the "who me?" "he" "she" "it" "they" of local dining is a vicious beast...however...no one is doing better or worse than someone else just because they are not a part of the common vocabulary.

Chef Trotter has moved into his spot in gastronomy. He'll hold THAT throne just like Europe does.

Chef Trotter has a temple...plain and simple.

I had a class with a student that used to work for Chef Trotter, he had absolutely nothing bad to say about him. He only said that he had to leave to attend school.

trevor williams

-Kendall College

eGullet Ethics Signatory

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You have a good head on your shoulders Trevor.

“Classical Cuisine” is a container just as “Novelle Cuisine” is a container, but they are connected.

“Novelle Cuisine” BECOMES “Classical Cuisine” – that is no different now than it ever was – it is only a matter of time.

There are the old ways and there are the new ways, but there exists no separation between the two – one simply blends into the other.

Anyone who relegates themselves to a certain section, new or old, places themselves inside a container and like any container there is only so much room inside, you are limited by it’s boundaries and subject to it’s volume.

If any chef in Chicago is standing higher than CT, it is only because they are standing on his shoulders and I advise them to look down and see the foundation that supports them and remind them of the story of the scorpion and the frog.

There are many people here hiding behind anonymous screen names alluding to the fact that perhaps they could do better – or are better now?

All-right then…. say the words. Post your photo in your profile, state your name – and say the words. Post them here for everyone to see.

Otherwise, you are a coward – and I personally don’t put stock in the words of cowards.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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. . .There are many people here hiding behind anonymous screen names alluding to the fact that perhaps they could do better – or are better now?

All-right then…. say the words. Post your photo in your profile, state your name – and say the words. Post them here for everyone to see.

Otherwise, you are a coward – and I personally don’t put stock in the words of cowards. . .

I don't think anyone here is personally claiming to be better than CT (at least not from what I've read in this thread), only that he is being surpassed somewhat by others who are up and coming.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I don't think anyone here is personally claiming to be better than CT (at least not from what I've read in this thread), only that he is being surpassed somewhat by others who are up and coming.

=R=

That may be the case Ron Kaplan, but they make it look as though they are associated with the faction of those who are up and coming in some way - and that this new faction is somehow "better".

It is very easy to speak when your identity is shielded and you are protected from the potential consequences of your words.

"At best, styles are merely parts dissected from a unitary whole. All styles require adjustment, partiality, denials, condemnation and a lot of self- justification. The solutions they purport to provide are the very cause of the problem, because they limit and interfere with our natural growth and obstruct the way to genuine understanding. Divisive by nature, styles keep men 'apart' from each other rather than 'unite' them."

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I don't think anyone here is personally claiming to be better than CT (at least not from what I've read in this thread), only that he is being surpassed somewhat by others who are up and coming.

=R=

Exactly.

Clearly the man has his legions of fans, I'm not disputing that. Whether you think he's the best, or I think he's the worst, really doesn't matter. The people that don't enjoy his food won't eat there, so that gives his fans more opportunity to explore his cuisine further. And for the record, it is my OPINION that Chef Achatz is far above Chef Trotter at this stage in his young career.

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Of course, everyone is open to their own opinion, but it is sad to see cuisine turn into competition. Most chefs seem to put endless amounts of energy and passion into their cooking, that it evetually becomes who they are, rather than what they do. It is disheartening to see that the measure of your worth is the measure of your work. I personally think that we should all be extremely thankful that this city has so many great restaurants striving for culinary greatness.

ChefGEB

Graham Elliot

@grahamelliot

www.grahamelliot.com

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I personally think that we should all be extremely thankful that this city has so many great restaurants striving for culinary greatness.

ChefGEB

Well said.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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Reposted (non-user agreement conforming comment removed):

I am neither exclusively for nor against any single person or style when it comes to cuisine.

In everything there are things I agree with and things that I don’t and, like your opinion, those are my assessments to make.

If I am "for" anything it is fact and verifiable statements and information.

Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I'd like to thank everyone for their empassioned comments here. Chef Trotter put Chicago on the culinary map and it's not surprising to see some amount of potshots hurled in his direction. It is the nature of things. People often root for the underdog, the up-and-comer, over the incumbent.

I'd also like to remind everyone that opinions are simply that -- opinions -- and we all have them. One of the primary functions of this forum is for us to share those opinions.

While there may be consequences for stating one's opinions anonymously outside of this forum, there are absolutely none for doing so within this forum. Anonymity is accepted here and those who choose it do so for a variety of valid reasons, not necessarily cowardice. Posts made anonymously are welcome here as long as they adhere to our user agreement. Whether you choose to accept an anonymous opinion or not is a personal choice, but anonymity does not necessarily invalidate one's opinion.

I'd also like to remind everyone that the power of anonymity is quite limited here in our forums. Even anonymous posters have, in the past, requested that their own posts be removed from the forum after they found themselves in hot water. So please, post responsibly.

Carry on. :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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there are absolutely none for doing so within this forum.

=R=

It is my opinion that everyone should have the freedom to do and say as they wish short of hurting others unjustifiably – it is also my opinion that there is a great difference between anonymously sending flowers and anonymously stabbing someone, one is a gesture of good will – the other is a crime.

There is also a difference between anonymously stating your opinion and anonymously purporting to have insider factual information confirming negative information about another person and offering no proof in any form.

I personally find the pitting “new” and “old” – “past” and “future” against each other practice and stating that one somehow makes the other illegitimate - or that one is “better” than the other fairly ridiculous.

Not only because when speaking of something that is subjective to each and every person like cuisine… it is not possible to be the overall “best” - and when comparing things that are completely different – an accurate association cannot be made – as they are in stark contrast.

Not only those things, but because the people making the statements, anonymous or not, offer nothing to lend any legitimacy, no actual comparative data, documentation or other items you would find in a credible claim.

So I assume they are just statements pulled out of the air – most likely based on the current media environment or second or third hand hearsay - rather than actual first hand experience – and if indeed the experience is first hand… it is most likely only with one side. I will continue to assume such until I am provided with evidence otherwise.

If anyone expected to attack and not be made to justify your attack - then you have my apologies… if there is any consequence for any post anywhere it is that you may be confronted and asked to justify it – by the opinion of another.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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Jesus!

Albini has to show up on a Trotter thread??? :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Edited to add:

Since Achatz is doing this Beard dinner that CT is hosting or sponsoring, maybe he's willing to forget about the bullshit.

6 months is a long time in kitchen days, and if one figures out their time can be better spent somewhere else, I don't know if they should be penalized.

Makes me think of what another Chicago chef said, in this case Gale Gand, that she didn't really care how much time someone spent in another kitchen, short or long.

There were other, more important things to look at.

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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Jesus!

Albini has to show up on a Trotter thread??? :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:

Hey, don't discount Steve in the culinary arena - from what I've seen he's a pretty avid cook himself - when my old band was recording at Electrical with Bob back before they finished studio A - he was whipping up some kind of Italian feast in the kitchen - I actually heard him use the words "Al-Dente".

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I HAVE heard he is a pretty decent cook.

Do you think he would approve of the "new" stuff?

Or do you think he would be more of an 'analog' guy?

BTW, to the earlier post ( London, early 90s)...

I feel like Steve did most of his best work when he was a member of the band (Big Black).

Otherwise, maybe Surfer Rosa and the 1st Breeders record were kind of it for me.

A few cuts off of 'Rid Of Me'.

Scratch Acid.

Forgive me for the tangent :wink:

What band was it?

edited to add: Nice photos on missuseven.

Food looks really great.

Great photos of France too!

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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