Michael Smith’s big moment at the former Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago arrived on New Year’s Eve 1987. On the menu that night was lobster in a saffron sauce served over black squid ink fettuccine. Smith was not on the line, but was helping out with pastry. He was in the pantry when he heard the late Trotter cry out, asking if anyone knew how to make black squid ink pasta. Another cook’s pasta kept falling apart in the water. Smith raised his hand and came ...

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