Chef Charlie Trotter in the kitchen and in the dining room of his restaurant at 816 W. Armitage Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: December 9, 2013 10:40AM
Sneed has learned that legendary chef Charlie Trotter, who was found unresponsive in his Lincoln Park home Tuesday morning, died from a stroke.
Although a report from the Cook County medical examiner’s office claims an autopsy Wednesday was inconclusive pending additional tests, Sneed is told the stroke — probably brought on by flying to and from a culinary conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., last weekend — was the reason for his untimely death at the age of 54.
Sneed exclusively reported Tuesday that Trotter had suffered an earlier stroke in January during a trip to New York and had been warned by doctors not to fly. He complained of not feeling well shortly after returning from his Wyoming trip Monday morning.
The report, which concluded there were no signs of trauma or foul play, is pending a toxicology analysis, which could take six to eight weeks.
A sad note: As the family of the famous gastronome prepares for a final goodbye, Sneed is told the final chapter of Trotter’s life had devolved into regret and loneliness.
It apparently wasn’t unusual for Trotter to sit alone in the middle of his famous, now-shuttered Charlie Trotter’s on West Armitage Avenue. Although he closed his eponymous restaurant a year ago, claiming “Life’s too short,” and with plans to go back to school and move into other interests, it was no secret that diners were no longer paying big bucks for gourmet food during the economic downturn.
But selling it was another matter.
“Charlie had a hard time giving the realtor keys to the restaurant to show prospective buyers, and then wouldn’t show up for meetings with them,” a source said.
Sneed is told that Trotter’s widow, Rochelle, is hoping to keep his memory alive and had been in the process of writing a culinary book and preparing for a TV food show. “She’s smart and beautiful and was there for him,” the source said. “It’s all so, so tragic.”
Cop shop . . .
Sneed hears that Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, the Bronx bulldog, is having back surgery Thursday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Best wishes for one tough cop.
Tipsville . . .
The eat beat: Sneed hears retiring McPier chief Jim Reilly has hired a firm to survey prospective restaurant owners for placement of more than 10 new eateries at Navy Pier! Isn’t that called a parking space nightmare?
The Cellini file . . .
Former FBI target/business mogul Bill Cellini may have disappeared within the bowels of the federal prison system for a little over nine months until his release last Thursday, but he wasn’t forgotten.
◆ To wit: His devoted sister, Janis Cellini, who also was a Springfield mover and shaker, had many intentions said at mass for her brother at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, N.M., while he was away.
Rahm ’em . . .
Sneed has learned that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking his first international trip on official city business since taking office.
◆ Destination: Mexico City.
◆ Length of stay: One day . . . to ink a Global Cities Economic Partnership deal with Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera to increase tourism, exports and university partnerships.
Tips & twaddle . . .
◆ Ho, ho, ho: Former veep hopeful Sarah Palin is touring with her latest book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart at Christmas,” which was originally titled “A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas” — emphasis hers.
◆ Yo, yo, yo! Now comes word that Lady Gaga wants to perform in outer space!
Fund ’em . . .
$$$ Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hit Washington on Wednesday to pitch her strategic Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, which has placed 500 people in jobs with salaries up to $70,000 a year. She is seeking funding beyond the fed bed.
Sneedlings . . .
Thursday’s birthdays: Joni Mitchell, 70; David Guetta, 46, and Grant De Porter, 49.