It seems to be the thing, these days, to see celebrities flying in, making a splash, and flying out. Jean Paul Gaultier, überchef Gordon Ramsay – who’s opening a restaurant in town in February! – and also…. Charlie Trotter, who’s a veritable culinary legend in Chicago, where his restaurant Charlie Trotter’s has been among the highest-rated for as long as there have been reputable restaurant guides.
And yes, we spoke to him, too.
The acclaimed American chef was in town for little more than one day, to headline a posh benefit dinner in honour of local star chef Normand Laprise, chef-owner of Toqué restaurant, of whom he says: “He’s not only a great chef, but a great guy”.
Trotter found time in his tight schedule to sit down with this Montreal Buzz correspondent and share his thoughts on the Montreal food scene.
Although he’s not in Montreal often, chef Laprise is someone he knows well and has amired for a long time. It was at restaurant Toqué!, in fact, that Trotter cooked back in 2001 when he presided over the gastronomic portion of the Highlights Festival – a whirlwind feast of cultural and foodie events that takes place here every winter. Laprise has also returned the favour and cooked at Charlie Trotter’s in recent years.
Trotter had little time to enjoy the city. He flew in from Chicago and was whisked away to Toqué!, where he had the tasting dinner, then had only the following day to prepare for the guests-only dinner and get ready to go home.
Staying at the fashionable Le Germain hotel in Downtown, he sat down for an interview. He talked about his views on seasonal cooking (there aren’t just four seasons, but actually 52, did you know?), what it’s like to run a famous restaurant (“I’d never allow my son to do this) and the great Quebec products that he’s tasted and given his stamp of approval: scallops, game, artisanal cheeses, etc.