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Charlie Trotter: The Master Chef With a McKinsey Mind

Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter on Aug. 27, 2012
Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter on Aug. 27, 2012Photograph by Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images

Charlie Trotter, who died Tuesday at 54, didn’t look like a chef.

In an era when chefs were still known for their tattoos and salty talk, Trotter accepted the accusation of anal retentiveness as a compliment. With his boyish Midwestern looks and a degree in political science, he looked and talked more like a management consultant. He exuded a ruthless efficiency in the kitchen, on TV, and in print that was the envy—and occasionally the terror—of his colleagues.