UPDATED: Philippe Ruiz Has Left the Biltmore and Palme d'Or

One of Miami's top chefs is leaving one of the town's best restaurants.

The higherups at the Biltmore had no choice but to bid farewell to chef de cuisine Philippe Ruiz -- a Chevalier de l'Ordre Du Mérite Agricole, two-time James Beard nominee for best chef in the South, and arguably one of Miami's top toques -- as he has handed in his resignation. "They were in shock," Ruiz says, "but they understood. We achieved so much together. It was better to leave while everything is going well."

Ruiz has worked for the Biltmore since 1999. In that time, Palme d'Or, the hotel's flagship eatery, earned prestigious awards, including best service, best production design, and best dish, along with numerous other mentions, from Zagat; the 2007 Golden Spoon Award from Florida Trend magazine; and two blessings from the Miami Herald, rating the restaurant "exceptional."

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New Times in 2007 labeled Ruiz one of Miami's best chefs and designated his Palme d'Or menu as the place we want to order our Best Last Meal on Earth in 2010.

Our restaurant critic Lee Klein wrote in his 2009 review: "There should never be a conversation about Miami's best chefs that does not include Philippe Ruiz, nor one concerning our finest restaurants without mention of Palme d'Or."

It goes without saying he has laid the groundwork for Palme d'Or's future as a leading Miami restaurant, assuming they can fill his shoes.

Thankfully, Ruiz is not going far. Rumor has it he is working with some of the folks involved with Zuma's parent company on a new restaurant concept opening in Miami this summer. A location has not been secured, but a Brickell address is in the running. Until that spot opens, his new employers are sending him around the globe in search of inspiration.

Update 1/6/12: To clarify, Zuma restaurant group is not involved in Ruiz's new restaurant, though one of that restaurant's independent investors, Tunu Puri is.

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