Charlie Trotter statue unveiled at River West gallery

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A statue of famed chef Charlie Trotter was unveiled at a gallery Monday night, and will soon find a permanent home on Michigan Avenue.

Chef Trotter died in 2013 of a stroke, and now his legacy will live on in a new way. Trotter is widely considered the chef who changed the culinary landscape of Chicago, starting in the late 1980s.

Dozens of area chefs came together for a feast fitting of the late Trotter at the Galleria Marchetti to pay tribute to his legacy and unveil a statue in his likeness.

It was originally going to be a bust, but project mastermind Chef Didier Durand said they just kept adding to it.

"He was very important to me, so we kept his legacy alive," Durand said.

The sculpture is being paid for with donations, and more are still needed.

Chef Trotter was 54 when he died in his Lincoln Park home. Besides his restaurants, he started a foundation and mentored countless young people.

"Think about the culinary community here, and how many schools are here, I think Charlie Trotter did that for them," said Lisa Wacker.

Chef Trotter's widow, Rochelle, spoke with ABC 7 Eyewitness News exclusively in 2014 and again Monday. She said she is so grateful for the continued efforts undertaken by so many to honor the life and legacy of her late husband.

It's not clear where the statue will be permanently placed, but Chef Durand said he spoke with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and hopes it can be placed at one of three spots on Michigan Avenue.
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