Charlie Trotter, As Remembered By His Wife, Rochelle

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rexusa_213354al Photo: ALEX BERLINER/BEImages.
"I'm coming to terms with the word 'bittersweet,' selfishly, because he's not here in the flesh, but also, so many people have so many good memories of him." Rochelle Trotter, of course, is remembering her husband, renowned chef Charlie Trotter, who died of a stroke in November. And, since his untimely death — he was just 54 — Trotter has made it her mission to continue her late husband's legacy. Initially, this meant following his basic wishes of cremation and a Champagne-and-canape reception after his funeral (attended by some of the country's most famous chefs). Now, it means expanding the work of the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation.

Rochelle is making it her full-time job this year to expand the foundation to the Charlie Trotter Center for Excellence and a library. The center would focus on seminars and lectures for at-risk youth who take an interest in the culinary arts. The library would host approximately 1,400 cookbooks, 600 fiction and non-fiction, and other memorabilia from Trotter's life (notes and sketches for cookbooks, clips from the PBS series "Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter").

Of course, it's been just months after her husband's death. And, in addition to the mourning period, she now faces many questions about her time with him. "People still ask me, 'What was it like?' There's a sort of latent voyeurism related to life with him." But, she's channeling her energy into making the foundation — and its subsequent center and library — her full-time job in 2014. "I trust this would not have been left to me if I was not equipped to the best of my abilities to do it." (DNAinfo)