Limited Whiskey Sells for Nearly $4,000 Per Bottle


A new whiskey created in Kentucky features a blend of age and scarcity that spiked demand — and its price.

Whiskey fans including celebrities and CEOs are angling to snatch up the fewer than 300 bottles of Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey at nearly $4,000 per bottle.

Limited-edition offerings with heftier prices are common as American whiskey-makers dabble in new flavors to lure more customers. But this latest offering by Louisville-based Michter’s Distillery is bringing the high end of the American whiskey business closer to the rarest bottles of Scotch, cognac and brandy.

The Michter’s product reaches shelves Monday in select liquor stores, restaurants, bars and hotels in a handful of U.S. cities. (AP)

Autopsy: Chef Charlie Trotter Died From Stroke


A medical examiner says celebrity chef Charlie Trotter died from a stroke.

Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina says in a statement Monday that tests showed the 54-year-old died from a stroked related to high blood pressure.

Cina says neither drugs nor alcohol contributed to Trotter’s death on Nov. 5 in Chicago, adding there was “no scientific evidence” that Trotter’s recently travels contributed to his death.

Trotter’s wife has said the acclaimed chef had an aneurysm months before he died and that he’d been taking medicine to control seizures, his blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Rochelle Trotter previously said the aneurysm was discovered in January and that doctors had prescribed the “proper medication.”

Cina says the autopsy showed evidence of a previous stroke.

Trotter traveled shortly before his death. (AP)

Trip Down Food TV Lane

It may not feel like it, but today is an important day in culinary history.

Twenty years ago a small fledging network started airing food-related shows with Emeril Lagasse and news programs (Food Views & News) with Sara Moulton and David Rosengarten.

Yes, with less flash and glamour, the Food Network started airing super simple shows 20 years *today. In other words, it was the greatest day of my mother’s life! Charter aired it on Channel 54. And she never stopped watching. Although if I remember it aired infomercials overnight since they were wasn’t enough programming to cover all 24 hours.

Aw, how times have changed.

Today viewers can rattle off chef’s names like they’re rock stars, and by first name also. Guy, Ina, Duff, Bobby and Rachael come to mind.

But in 1993, it seemed like the network couldn’t even afford color! I can’t tell you how many set backdrops were white, pure white, or white with props! That 3-storied wire rack you have in your pantry? Yeah, it was used for that news program, and for Rosengarten’s show Taste.

My mother fell hook line and sinker for it.

She’d watch day and night – or at least until paid programming kicked in for the night.

She loved Moulton’s Cooking Live show, and took copious notes. I do remember in the beginning a few bad calls, or dropped calls, but for the most part people were asking valid cooking question, and Moulton was happy oblige. She taught *me you could really cook a whole meal within 30 minutes pre-Rachael (!).

As time wore on, more programming was added, like ‘The Essence of Emeril’ which conveniently aired nightly at 6pm – the same time as dinner! Eating while learning about food – that’s what dreams are made of. It was also another show she got me sucked into!

Then the internet came to house. After a quick tutorial on how to print, I’d come home from college many days to find dozens of recipes littering the kitchen and living room tables. In fact, Food TV was the only reason why we got internet in the first place!

After she died early last year, I couldn’t watch anything on this channel without wildly bursting into tears. I tried many times too during my leave so I could learn something new, and maybe distract myself from the dreadful truth I was facing, but I couldn’t get past the first minutes of any program. I had to give up. It reminded me too much of her.

And then something amazing happened. I started to realize that I still could connect with her – through food. Oftentimes I now find myself carefully sifting through thousands of cookbook pages casually researching my next meal.

I continue to get Food Network magazine in the mail – she gifted me a subscription a few years back.

FDA to Ban Artery-Clogging Trans Fats

The FDA is announcing Thursday that it will require the food industry to gradually phase out trans fats, saying they are a threat to people’s health.

Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths.

Hamburg says that while the amount of trans fats in the country’s diet has declined dramatically in the last decade, they “remain an area of significant public health concern.”

The agency isn’t yet setting a timeline for the phase-out, but will collect comments for two months before officials determine how long it will take.

Trans fat is widely considered the worst kind of fat for your heart. They are often found in processed foods, including some microwave popcorns and frozen pizzas, refrigerated doughs and ready-to-use frostings. (AP)

Mexican Coke in U.S. Will Still Use Cane Sugar


Fans of “Mexican Coke” in the U.S. need not worry about any sweetener changes.

Americans who buy the glass bottles of Coke exported from Mexico may have been dismayed by recent online reports that an independent bottler in the country planned to switch from sugar to fructose to cut costs. Unlike the exported bottles of “Mexicoke,” Coke drinks made in the U.S. are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

Arca stressed in a statement that it has no plans to change the sweetener for the Coke bottles it exports. Those will continue to use 100 percent cane sugar, it said. The company’s CEO said last week that the bottler could consider using more fructose, but that was only for drinks distributed in Mexico.

The company’s drinks sold in Mexico are already sweetened with a mix of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

In the U.S., Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. switched to the cheaper sweetener in the 1980s. (AP)

Officials: Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter Dies at 54


Award-winning chef Charlie Trotter, a self-taught culinary master whose eponymous Chicago restaurant elevated the city’s cuisine and provided a training ground for some of the nation’s other best chefs, has died at the age of 54.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said rescue crews were called around 10 a.m. Tuesday to his Lincoln Park home, where they found Trotter unresponsive. Langford said an ambulance crew transported Trotter to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died after unsuccessful attempts to revive him.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said it was notified, and an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

Trotter’s name is synonymous with gourmet cuisine. He earned 10 James Beard Awards and provided a training ground for some of the country’s other best-known chefs, such as fellow Beard Award-winner Grant Achatz of Chicago restaurants Alinea and Next.

Charlie Trotter’s earned two stars when the highly respected Michelin Guide debuted in Chicago.

“His restaurant shaped the world of food,” said Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine. “He was so innovative and focused and intense and really brilliant. When he opened Charlie Trotter he was so original.”

His legacy will be “a passion for perfection and innovation,” she said.

In keeping with his reputation for bold, unexpected moves, Trotter closed the iconic 120-seat restaurant in 2012, saying he planned to go back to college to study philosophy.

On Tuesday, a bouquet of roses was left outside the site of the former restaurant with a card that read, “Chef.”

Trotter, who never went to cooking school, wrote more than a dozen cookbooks and starred in a PBS series, “The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.” He credited the development of his signature style to his travels in the U.S. and Europe after college and dining at the best restaurants.

He was famous for his reverence for details and he insisted his staff also be sticklers for exactness.

Such laser-like precision and military-style organization was on display a few days before his restaurant closed in August of last year.

In a behind-the-scenes look for The Associated Press three days before closing night, the Charlie Trotter’s staff held a typically detail-laden pre-dinner meeting, discussing specifics down to the exact dates when diners last ate at the restaurant and reminders about when to use certain wine glasses.

Dishes from the final week of menus included poached white asparagus with charred broccolini, manchego cheese and red pepper essence and root beer leaf ice cream with vanilla cremeaux and birch syrup-infused meringue.

Staff members recited the evening’s menus, and Trotter – relentlessly demanding – took one employee to task.

“You’re not reading, are you?” he asked. “When you go to the table do you have a piece of paper?”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a written statement Tuesday honoring Trotter as someone who “changed Chicago’s restaurant scene forever.”

“Charlie’s personality mirrored his cooking – bold, inventive and always memorable,” Emanuel said. “Charlie Trotter will be remembered for serving the finest food and his generous philanthropy, and he will always have a seat at the table among Chicago’s legendary figures.”

Since closing down his restaurant, Trotter had run into legal troubles.

This summer, he was sued by two New York wine collectors who say he sold them a bottle of wine for more than $46,000 that wasn’t what it said on the label.

Trotter had degrees from the University of Wisconsin in political theory and philosophy.

“It’s learning for learning’s sake,” Trotter told the AP last year in laying out his plans for further study in philosophy. “Reading some of the great books that are unread still. Only studying for studying’s sake. It’s sort of a lost thing.”

Trotter said he was “looking for a second act in a sense.”

“You’ve got to follow your instincts,” he said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)