On November 10, 2009, District 39 alumnus and former Wilmette resident Charlie Trotter received the District 39 Educational Foundation’s second annual Distinguished Citizen Award. Over 130 guests at the Michigan Shores Club enjoyed the chance to meet Chef Trotter and hear about his start in the restaurant business right here in Wilmette. Chef Trotter also spoke about the need to encourage students to find their dreams and pursue them.
Chef Trotter started cooking professionally in 1982 after earning a degree in political science from the University of Madison-Wisconsin. Today Charlie Trotter’s is regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the world. For nearly 22 years, the restaurant has dedicated itself to excellence and innovation in the culinary arts.
Chef Trotter is the author of 14 cookbooks, three management books, and is the host of the award-winning PBS cooking series, The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter. In addition to Charlie Trotter’s, he also owns and operates Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie in the Palazzo Hotel, Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, and Trotter’s To Go gourmet retail shop in Chicago.
Beyond his numerous culinary accolades, Chef Trotter has philanthropic ties to a vast number of charities. Closest to his heart is the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation, which has raised over a million dollars to date.
Chef Trotter has received awards from both President Bush and Colin Powell for his work with his Culinary Foundation and was named one of only five “heroes” to be honored by Colin Powell’s charity, America’s Promise.