Charlie Trotter's life, legend detailed in 'Love, Charlie' at Chicago International Film Festival

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Friday, October 15, 2021
Chef Charlie Trotter's legendary life detailed in 'Love, Charlie'
Documentary "Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter" by Rebecca Halpern debuts at the 2021 Chicago International Film Festival.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People used to fly from all over the world to eat at Charlie Trotter's legendary restaurant. A documentary from North Shore native Rebecca Halpern, called "Love Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter,"

"To be able to come back to Chicago, making a movie about my hometown and a real hometown hero, was a dream come true," Hapern said.

Halpern believes Chicago is an intrinsic part of Trotter's story.

"Charlie Trotter was the right guy in the right place at the right time for food, and I think Chicago has a history of having these visionaries," she said. "In basketball, in Chicago in sports, you had Michael Jordan; in the media you had Oprah Winfrey in the 90s; and in food you had Charlie Trotter. Across the country and around the world, Charlie really impacted a lot of chefs and sort of changed the course of culinary history."

Trotter also wrote letters and postcards constantly, and they spoke of his fate.

"It was as if Charlie Trotter wrote his life story before he even lied it," said Halpren. "He said, 'Do you ever feel you're starring in your own movie?'"

"At the end of the restaurant life, 25 years in that relentless pursuit of excellence he sought day really consumed him," she added. "He passed away a year after the restaurant closed after a series of very public embarrassing situations, and I think that's all emblematic of the fact that Chef Charlie Trotter lost touch with himself."

Halpern views the film itself as a love letter in many ways.

"In many respects, the film is one last letter to all of us, 'Love, Charlie' and that's why we call it that as well," she said.

"Love, Charlie" has its red carpet debut Monday night at the AMC River East, with lots of local food celebrities in attendance. There is also a showing next Friday.

The film streams next week through the end of the Chicago International Food Festival on October 24.