CHICAGO (CBS) — Friends of Charlie Trotter gathered on Monday for a memorial service to celebrate the legendary chef’s career.
“Practice the virtue of hospitality,” Pastor Sarah Sarchet Butter said during the memorial service.
They filled every pew of the church, and dozens of mourners wore white chef’s coats.
“There’s a ripple effect as we saw here today,” said Lee Jones, who runs a Ohio farm that supplied Trotter’s restaurant. “The chefs that have gone on and opened their own places, this is a huge family tree.”
Graham Eliot, Art Smith, Rick Bayless, Emeril Lagasse were among many premier chefs in attendance at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue.
“It’s a sad day,” Lagasse said has he walked into the church.
“It’s sad that we are not going to be able to see the next stage of his incredible life would have been,” said Bayless. “It’s a very sad moment for Chicago, and for the culinary world.”
“His vision changed the way we thought about food.”
Trotter died last week after he was found unresponsive at his Lincoln Park home.
Trotter’s wife, Rochelle, said her husband suffered an aneurysm months before the acclaimed chef died and he was taking medicine to control seizures, his blood pressure and high cholesterol.
An autopsy ruled out foul play or trauma as a cause of death, but it can’t be fully determined until further tests are conducted.
In a statement released to The Associated Press last week, Rochelle Trotter said doctors had prescribed the “proper medication” and that medical experts had cleared Charlie Trotter to travel.
Trotter had recently returned to Chicago from Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he attended a culinary conference.
Trotter’s wife says the autopsy indicated the trip did not contribute to his death.
The demanding and mercurial Trotter closed his namesake restaurant in August 2012 after 25 years, during which he won a multitude of top culinary awards.