Wow, a chef makes the leap from a beer bar in Wicker Park to running one of Grant Achatz’s kitchens! How is that possible? Well, it’s possible when the chef is someone with a rep like Andrew Brochu’s, and is clearly taking a breather at The Monarch while waiting on a bigger and better thing. Which has now turned out to be running the kitchen at The Aviary, which has tended to offer an interestingly eclectic, but very short and less than filling, food menu; we suspect it’s about to get more serious about the size and scope of its menu with Brochu’s arrival, which was announced on The Aviary’s Facebook page:
The Aviary is please to announce that chef Andrew Brochu will be joining the team to lead our Aviary Culinary kitchen in greatly expanding our food offerings. Chef Brochu spent 3 years at Alinea and chef Achatz, Nick Kokonas and our entire staff is excited to welcome him back to our restaurant group. We will have many exciting culinary announcements in the weeks ahead. But for now, please help us in welcoming chef Brochu.
Brochu worked at Alinea for three years before opening the acclaimed but sadly short-lived Kith and Kin; he spent some months with Phillip Foss at EL Ideas and an ultimately brief tenure as head chef of Graham Elliot, which seemed the perfect place for him at the time. When that ended abruptly, he went to the former Uberstein to turn it into a more ambitious gastropub called The Monarch.
Meanwhile, The Monarch has moved quickly to announce that its kitchen will be taken over by one of Brochu’s longtime proteges, Michael DeStefano, who worked with him at both Kith & Kin and EL Ideas before following him to The Monarch. So kudos to them for continuing to aim for the big leagues and food of distinction on a busy drinking strip.