The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables is a designated National Historic Landmark. It was built in 1926 by John McEntee Bowman and George Merrick as part of a grand hotel chain with locations in Los Angeles, Rhode Island, New York, and Havana.
Philippe's first restaurant job was at L'Hotel De France in his hometown of Saint Julien en Genevois at the age of 14. He says "When I started, I peeled the potatoes, cleaned all the fish, all the nasty stuff nobody wanted to do, I did. It was a small hotel."
Chef Ruiz says, "I think it's important to keep clean and to keep quiet. Focus. Discipline. There is a difference in Europe where if you go to cooking school, when you finish, you don't know everything, but you're ready to work, for the rest of your life. It's more serious. Here it's just a job. Just a way to make money.
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I've been here (at the Palm d'Or) for ten years. One of my bigger concerns is staff, and maintaining the standard of excellence that we have here. I see them come in with a resumé this big and know nothing and I see them come in with nothing and learn everything.