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Fox & Obel Fires Head Baker, Paychecks Bouncing?

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jan 2, 2012 4:00PM

Fox & Obel's outstanding bread has always been one of their signature items. That may be about to change: Steve Dolinsky reported yesterday that Pamela Fitzpatrick, head baker at F&O for more than 10 years, has been fired. Combined with rumors of bouncing paychecks and a few daily deal offerings, this may not signal good times ahead for the River North gourmet outpost.

Fitzpatrick, formerly of La Brea bakery (otherwise known as Mecca for bread geeks) originally came to Chicago to work for Rich Melman at Lettuce Entertain You. Her breads are known for deep crusts and interesting flavors, and she also supplies many of Chicago's best restaurants, including avec, Lula and Nightwood.

We've been a bit worried about Fox and Obel for a while. Gourmet stores are a prime candidate for recession belt-tightening, and F&O's prices have always been a bit too high. Dolinsky writes that Fitzpatrick only confirmed check-bouncing rumors he'd heard from other employees, and that owner Bob Bolton refused to comment on the situation.

Don't worry about Fitzpatrick - she's already got an offer from Melman to return to Lettuce.

(Ed. Note: Fox & Obel was reportedly behind on their rent as recently as last March. — CS)