The 6 Best Chefs To Leave Miami

Criteria is simple:A great chef who made his or her mark in Miami and then moved on. David Bouley doesn't qualify, as he wasn't actually doing the cooking at Evolution. Carmen Gonzalez of the departed Carmen's might make my top ten, but I don't think of her as being in quite in the same league as these others, who are listed in loose chronological order -- starting with the first to leave.

Kerry Simon: Miami's star chef in the early to mid-nineties when he helmed Starfish, then Max's, and finally his own Mercury. Found even bigger success in New York and Vegas.

Gary Robbins: Original chef at Wish Restaurant. Became a renowned chef in New York.

Robbin Haas: Had a hand in some of Miami's biggest restaurants, including The Colony, Bang, Baleen, Red Square, and Chispa, then moved to Guatemala where he opened Nokiate restaurant. Still keeps a home in Miami.

Klime Kovaceski: Chef/owner of mid-Beach's long-running and acclaimed Crystal Cafe. Is currently corporate executive chef at the recently opened Mez Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Johnny Vinczencz: The old Caribbean Cowboy earned his rep with his first  eponymous restaurant in the Hotel Astor, then a few years later tried again with less success. Still going strong at his Las Olas location in Ft. Lauderdale, and has just debuted Smith and Jones.

Norman Van Aken: He helped put South Florida cuisine on the map, but now you have to go to Orlando to try it.

Am I forgetting anyone?

--Lee Klein

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