Charlie Trotter celebrated 19 years of fine dining in Chicago with chefs Grant Achatz, Wylie Dufresne, Andoni Luis Aduriz, and more. Each guest chef presented a course, and in some cases, multiple courses, alongside two of Chef Trotter's. The final menu was a sequence of thirteen dishes with pairings, some plated a la minute on Trotter's famous white passe, and others set up banquet-style in the demo kitchen next door. Proceeds of the dinner benefitted The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation.
Managing Editor Will Blunt was our fly on the wall, observing the nuts and bolts of the event and talking with Chef de Cuisine Matthias Merges about the months of planning that brought the night together so seamlessly.
Matthias Merges, Chef de Cuisine, Charlie Trotter
Matthias Merges, Chef de Cuisine at Charlie Trotter in Chicago, talks about how the restaurant's 19th anniversary dinner came together, from finding the right chefs, pairing the wines, and orchestrating the courses.
Will Blunt: There was a real sense of culinary gravity in the kitchen that night; how did you choose the chefs for the event?
Matthias Merges: We've worked with every top chef on the planet in some way or another, either at a benefit dinner or special function, We've worked with Paul Bocuse, Ferran Adria, Wylie Dufresne, Thomas Keller, and we always look for different chefs who have the same philosophy, dedication to their craft, and a generosity. We want to work with people who understand the whole idea of cuisine, restaurants, and hospitality. For this event in particular, everyone who was here truly epitomized what they do in their own house—Hermé in Paris, Andoni in Spain, Wylie in New York. We wanted a great vibe so we looked for really special chefs.