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Charlie Trotter Alumni Launch 'The Trotter Project'

Photo: Charlie Trotter, The Trotter Project

Chef Homaro Cantu (Moto) has announced that formation of a nonprofit organization called The Trotter Project that will honor legendary Chicago chef, Charlie Trotter, who passed away in November. According to the press release(below), the project is an "alumni-driven initiative that will be based in the landmark buildings where Chef Charlie Trotter made culinary history." Cantu will serve as the Chairman of the Board and chefs like Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot Bistro), and Della Gossett (Spago) will serve on the advisory board. Eater Chicago notes that while the Trotter Family is involved, they will be "in a supporting role on the side."

The press release notes that the organization has big plans: It intends to add an indoor farm to Trotter's vacant namesake restaurant that will work with local churches, schools, and grocery stores to help "eliminate food deserts." The organization aims to also provide nutrition education to children to help them eat healthily. The Trotter Project will also introduce a new rating and reviewing systems which will apparently be "100 percent transparent." The system will "rate and reward chefs and operators" using data, not opinions, to help "establish a new standard in the dining world."

The foundation is looking to raise money to fund their aforementioned goals. First up is a fundraising event in which the Trotter Project will host "Savor", the Windy City Wine Festival Opening Night Fundraiser on September 4. Many of the chefs involved with the organization will also participate in cooking a Charlie Trotter tribute dinner on September 27 as part of the Chicago Gourmet food festival. See the press release:

Charlie Trotter's Alumni Announce The Trotter Project, A New Alumni-Driven Not-For-Profit

Charlie Trotter's alumni joined Dylan Trotter, Chef Charlie Trotter's son, other Trotter family members, culinary colleagues, Mary Ann Rose, Chairman of the Board of The Magnificent Mile Association, Bob O'Neill, President of The Grant Park Conservancy, 43rd Ward Alderman Michelle Smith and Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia to announce the formation of the new not-for-profit called The Trotter Project. An alumni-hosted champagne reception followed the announcement.
Dylan Trotter said, "I wanted to have the announcement around Father's Day as a special way to pay tribute to my dad and grandfather who started the restaurant [Charlie Trotter's] together."

"Spearheaded by Trotter alumni, the idea for The Trotter Project originated during the days following the loss of one of the culinary world's greats: Chef Charlie Trotter," said Homaro Cantu, Chairman of the Board of The Trotter Project and Chef and Owner of Michelin-starred Moto Restaurant and Berrista Coffee (opening in September, 2014) in Chicago. "Conversations began among alumni and his culinary colleagues who wanted to be a part of something that paid tribute to the principles instilled in them by Chef Trotter. We are humbled and excited to have an ever-widening circle of alumni and culinary colleague supporters who have joined the initiative to celebrate the lasting legacy of Chef Charlie Trotter."

The Trotter Project is an alumni-driven initiative that will be based in the landmark buildings where Chef Charlie Trotter made culinary history. Alumni and culinary colleagues from across Chicago and worldwide will provide instruction and continuing education through the organization's Pillars of Excellence Program—a series of lessons that will teach the importance of striving for excellence in all life's pursuits by using the premise and belief system for which all staff training at Charlie Trotter's began and rested upon, including: Food, Wine & Beverage, Ambiance, plus Service & Hospitality.

In addition, nutritional education will also be offered to teach children the importance of eating right and enjoying healthy flavorful foods. Students will be invited to participate in dinners at the buildings.

A further series of initiatives is in development that will include training and education programs in collaboration with schools, grocery stores, and other entities. Intertwining with these programs will be an urban indoor farming component which will provide an innovative approach that seeks to further conversations and offer solutions to eliminate food deserts.

The Trotter Project will be the first international culinary organization to offer a revolutionary new rating and reviewing system which will provide a 100 percent transparent system, that will rate and reward chefs and operators, based on data not opinions and establish a new standard in the dining world. The rating system will incorporate scientific and mathematical data in a leading-edge way to provide a focus group quality review for restaurant operators worldwide.

Additionally, The Trotter Project, in collaboration with The Grant Park Conservancy, will play host to The Windy City Wine Festival Opening Night Fundraiser, Savor, at Buckingham Fountain on Thursday, September 4, 2014. Alumni of the legendary Charlie Trotter's restaurant and culinary colleagues who collaborated with Chef Trotter in his kitchen will showcase inspired cuisine paired with artisanal wines from around the world.

· 'The Trotter Project' Nonprofit to Resurrect Charlie Trotter's Space [Eater Chicago]
· Charlie Trotter's Alumni Announce The Trotter Project [The Trotter Project]
· All Charlie Trotter Coverage on Eater [-E-]