EXCLUSIVE: Before Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey there was Charlie Trotter, the O.G. of bad boy chefs.
The late culinary master, who earned Michelin stars at his restaurants in Chicago and Las Vegas, is the subject of Rebecca Halpern’s debut documentary Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter. Greenwich Entertainment announced today it has acquired North American rights to the film, with plans to release it in theaters later this year.
Trotter authored or co-authored 14 cookbooks, hosted a PBS cooking show and even earned a humanitarian of the year award from an association of culinary professionals, in addition to launching successful restaurants. He was known for his flavorful cuisine, but his tongue could be tart.
He was “a gastronomic revolutionary,” according to a description of the film, “yet his tempestuous, competitive nature alienated many. Using never-before-seen archival material and new interviews with those who loved and loathed him, this absorbing, unvarnished profile chronicles the passions of a master chef while revealing the consequences of pursuing excellence at all costs.”
“Chef Charlie Trotter’s story is a cautionary tale for anyone who identifies too closely with their work,” Halpern noted in a statement. “And though much about his journey is awe-inspiring and admirable, Charlie’s story is a warning to all of us to create healthier boundaries in work and in life. Charlie’s favorite quote, ‘After love, there is only cuisine,’ is emblematic of this because, in the end, cuisine was all Charlie had left.”
The Chicago-area native made an appearance in the 1997 Julia Roberts comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding, essentially playing himself as a volatile chef. He died of an aneurysm in 2013 at the age of 54. He was survived by a son, as well as a wife and two ex-wives.
Love, Charlie is produced by Renée Frigo of Oak Street Pictures. Executive producers are Ray Harris, Tony DeLuca, Margie Geddes, and Lisa St. John. Among the notables who appear in the film are former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some of Trotter’s fellow chefs and restaurateurs, including Wolfgang Puck, Emeril LaGasse, Grant Achatz, and Rick Bayless.
Frigo said, “We are thrilled to launch our film with Greenwich, a dedicated team passionate about sharing Charlie Trotter’s story with the widest audience possible.”
Greenwich Entertainment’s Andy Bohn negotiated the acquisition deal with Submarine’s Ben Schwartz on behalf of the filmmakers.