Outsiders may judge a chef highly, but Blackbird makes decisions based on its own sense of what’s right for one of Chicago’s longest-running and most successful top-flight restaurants. And so for the second time, as 312DiningDiva reported, a chef leaves Blackbird just months after he was honored by Food & Wine magazine as one of the best in the country. Pastry chef Bryce Caron was recruited to Blackbird from Custom House in 2011 to succeed Patrick Fahy (who went to the Sofitel), and to many observers Caron’s desserts were in a similar vein, with abstract forms and a blend of sweet and savory. (He also prepared the desserts for Blackbird’s sibling Avec.) As David Tamarkin observed at the time, “Caron’s style is much more aligned with pastry chefs such as Fahy and Fahy’s predecessor, Tim Dahl [than with the food at Custom House], and his style will certainly feel more streamlined at the end of a meal by David Posey, Blackbird’s chef de cuisine.”
But Eater spoke to Caron and there seem to have been a number of possible reasons why “it just wasn’t a fit,” culinarily or staff chemistry-based, from Blackbird’s point of view, as well as an ongoing process of feedback from diners and servers aimed to improving the desserts in Blackbird’s mind. If Caron at Blackbird wasn’t a fit for whatever reason, we doubt one of the first five Food & Wine best pastry chefs will go too long without a job, though Caron tells Eater he sees more opportunities on the coasts than in Chicago. A few months back Caron was a Key Ingredient participant; here you can see him at work at Blackbird.