Rochelle Smith Trotter on Charlie Trotter

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Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter, seen in this photo from August 27, 2012, has died. The 54-year-old chef was found unconscious and not breathing in his Lincoln Park home this morning and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. (Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
Chef. Photo: Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune/MCT

In the first interview she's given since her husband's death last November, Rochelle Smith Trotter talks about their last conversation ("he sounded so full of joy," she says) and the forthcoming Charlie Trotter Center for Excellence, the nonprofit she's assembling this year from scratch. In addition to hosting twelve commemorative events, plans currently include opening a library in the chef''s name and publishing a "tribute book by the end of 2014." "This is going to be a really aggressive year of capital-building for the foundation," she says. [DNAInfo, Earlier, Related]