On Monday night, the Aviary's exec chef Craig Schoettler tipped off Eater that he'd been let go from the Fulton Market cocktail lounge. In a text, he said he'd been fired, but then wasn't available to talk. Eater has reached out to both Schoettler and Aviary owner Grant Achatz this morning, but hasn't not been able to get either on the phone.
Schoettler, somewhat of a prodigy, at 24 helped launch the Aviary's acclaimed cocktail program in April of 2011 and has since gone on to achieve national notoriety. He was named beverage professional of the year by the Chicago Tribune, nominated for a James Beard Award for outstanding bar program (for the Aviary) and won the award for national bartender of the year in the 2011 Eater Awards.
The news comes as a shock since much of the Aviary's success, not to mention the extensive bar program at the exclusive Office below the Aviary, has been attributed to Schoettler and there has been talk of expanding the concept to other markets. This story is developing ...
· The Eater Awards 2011 Winners, From Coast to Coast [~EN~]
· Achatz Exploring International Expansion for the Aviary [~EN~]
UPDATE: Eater still has not heard back from Schoettler or Achatz, but Nick Kokonas, Achatz's partner in The Aviary, emailed earlier to say that, "We are happy to have had Craig for the opening year of the Aviary -- and before that at Alinea. Beyond that we won't comment on the comings and goings of staff."