Charlie Trotter

(Charles Trotter)

Quote Topics Cited
A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that's when cuisine is truly exciting. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Music, Chants & Rapps
A quarter century of running a restaurant - that's a long time to do one thing. Time
All four elements were happening in equal measure - the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.
Any fool can be happy. What I'm interested in is satisfaction. There's got to be more to life than just being happy. You've got to be fulfilled. You've got to be satisfied; philosophically satisfied is what I mean. Life
As tough as I've been on anybody, as hard as I've ever been on anybody, I have been harder on myself. By far.
At home, a man is entitled to raise his voice maybe once a year, if something really gets under his skin. At work, it's different. I raise my voice all the time. Not out of malice, but to get things right. It's never personal. Time ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Chefs, as a whole, say yes to any project, fundraiser, or tasting because they have such a generous spirit.
Cooking is exactly like making music. Music, Chants & Rapps
Excellence is about fighting and pursuing something diligently, with a strict and determined approach to doing it right. It's okay if there are flaws in the process - it makes it more interesting.
For over 20 years, I have been saying that Chicago is by far one of the greatest food cities in the world. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I am actually a very gentle person.
I believe in focusing on details.
I couldn't really relate to the fraternity or party scene, to the people out in the mall every day protesting one thing or another. I felt like there was no one I could relate to.
I don't ever want to lose that mind-set where you've got to be able to realize different ideas-slash-fantasies-slash-possibilities in your life. Life
I don't know how to put this gently, but I'm trying to tackle the biggest question of all, which is the God question. Religion & God
I don't understand people who spend their twenties hanging out in bars and going to football game. That stuff is so boring compared to really applying yourself to what you do.
I don't want to turn 50 and say, 'Gosh, I wish I'd lived in that part of the world for a time. I wish I'd read that book by Faulkner.' I want time to delve back into Thoreau and Kafka. Time
I got on a Dostoyevsky kick right after college. I started with 'Crime and Punishment,' went on to 'The Possessed' and then 'The Brothers Karamazov' and 'The Idiot.'
I have a certain point of view, a certain way to plate food, certain ingredients that I like to use. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I have a goal so lofty it's almost embarrassing to talk about. And that's to be the best restaurant in the world.
I have always considered desserts to be of equal importance to the savory food. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I love faltering. I love, in a sense, coming up short. Because you learn nothing from success. You learn so much from failing. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Success
I never considered Miles Davis a perfectionist; I always considered him as an excellence-ist, where deviation is actually kind of cool.
I timed my previous wife's pregnancy to the moment to have my son born on Bob Dylan's 50th birthday. There is no bigger Bob Dylan fan than me. You don't just time the day and impregnate your wife to get your kid to be born on Bob Dylan's 50th birthday. Time
I took the obligatory economics classes in school, but I've long been a fan of the Milton Friedman philosophy and its libertarian bent: One must be free to do what one wants to do, as long as you don't harm another. This is the seminal treatise on free-market economics.
I was always inspired by restaurants like La Tulipe in Manhattan. You'd walk right by and say, 'Oh what a lovely house.' You didn't realize there was a restaurant behind the door.
I wasn't using college as a stepping stone to law school or some other career. I just wanted a liberal-arts education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I worked in 40 restaurants over a five-year period.
I would always be embarrassed to read out loud in class because I would transpose words and letters and things.
If people give me a year or two of their best effort, then I am their friend for life. Life
If you ever want to get anywhere in life, you're going to have to push it, and somebody's going to push you to get there. End of story. Life
If you go around the kitchen and ask my employees what they want to be doing in three to five years, most of them, if they're being honest, will tell you that they don't want to be working for me. They want to have their own place. And I think that's great.
If you know what you're doing, you can make a meal happen with any kitchen knife. But using a top-quality knife versus a low-quality one is the difference between driving a Jaguar and a VW Jetta across the country. They'll both get you there. But the Jaguar will give you a much smoother ride.
If you want the meaning of families and life and religion and philosophy rolled into one package, all you need to read is 'The Brothers Karamazov.' Life ;Religion & God
I'm really not that comfortable with people. I mean, I love individuals, but I'm not very social. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
In a time when it is common for chefs to simply reproduce the innovations of others, the few who speak for themselves through their food become the skilled artists of their time. Time ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
In my case, vertical food was less about standing things up than layering things: more an attempt to gain texture by weaving things together. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
It's a challenge to demonstrate that you can prepare some really interesting food with humble ingredients. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
It's a lot harder to get people to 'ooh' and 'aah' over beets and carrots than it is to get them to 'ooh' and 'aah' over artichokes or asparagus, and I enjoy being able to take these humble, 'lowbrow' foodstuffs up a few notches and serve them with great exuberance.
I've always been a little crazy.
I've always liked root vegetables because most of them have a natural sweetness. They have a high fructose content, especially when you cook them and caramelize them in a saute pan. Or you can take a turnip and cook it slowly in the oven until it's browned, and it takes on a kind of sweetness. These vegetables are pretty easy to like.
Life's too short. You may be on this planet for 80 years at best or who knows, but you can't just pedal around and do the same thing forever. Life
Maybe it's good to be traumatized in your youth, to make you think differently and step outside the box. Anybody can be comfortable, but if you get your world rocked, shaken as it were, then maybe it causes you to really go to a whole other level in a different way.
My fantasy is to have a restaurant where there are no written menus, but where you just ask people, 'What are you in the mood for? Fish? Meat? White wine?'
My father was a successful entrepreneur.
My parents couldn't be looser. It was the ultimate laissez faire upbringing.
My plan is to work on a master's in philosophy. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
One must know combinations, one must have a true knowledge of food to be in the moment. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Sometimes I think I should have chosen a line of work where it was just me alone in the room, with the sun coming in, and God, insofar as he or she exists, smiling down upon me. Then I would have never been accused of being a tyrant, other than towards myself. Religion & God ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Students need to learn how to think critically, how to argue opposing ideas. It is important for them to learn how to think. You can always cook.
The body cannot produce enzymes in perfect combinations to metabolize your foods as completely as the food enzymes created by nature do. This results in partially digested fats, proteins, and starches that can clog your body's intestinal tract and arteries. Nature ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The idea that you have to pursue greatness... it's up to you; it's your life. Life
The most successful food, I think, is food that both appeals to the super-sophisticated diner or foodie and to the lay diner at the same time. Time ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
There has been no great surprise, no sudden revelation. I knew pretty much what I was getting into. What I've learned is that a restaurant can be as much of an art as you want it to be, but it has to be a successful business first. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
To me, searching for perfection isn't anywhere near as interesting as trying to find your own voice.
Ultimately, I want to prepare food that will be recognized equally in Tokyo, London, and Paris. I am after that universality, that transcendence. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
What I was reading was already part of my psyche, but finally someone else was saying it's okay to walk alone.
When I graduated I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want a conventional career.
You can't be afraid to not have everything figured out. There's too much pressure on young people today to have it all figured out when they're in college.
You know the old adage that the customer's always right? Well, I kind of think that the opposite is true. The customer is rarely right.
You've got to give away what you love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex