A few shockwaves went through the Miami dining community when they heard Azul chef Joel Huff had high tailed it outta there. Rumors had it that a big name chef was headed to the Mandarin in his place. Not so. But where is Huff anyway? Reports by some very misinformed folks saying Huff is headed to Geoffrey Zakarian's Tudor House weren't just grossly exaggerated, but completely wrong according to Zakarian's publicist Jaret Keller, who, along with his client, was baffled to say the least. "It is absolutely not true," Keller told us. We also know that the team behind Route 9, Jeremy and Paola Goldberg, were eyeing Huff as a candidate to head up their new Key Biscayne restaurant, but that didn't work out.
So where is he now? Going back to Cali, he tells us, to his hometown of Santa Barbara, where he is helping out a good friend who happens to own a restaurant. "I'll help her for a litle and see what I can do after that," Huff told us. "I was planning on going to The Viceroy and then realized I needed a little break. The Mandarin burned the heck out of me. I need to recharge my batteries." And recharge he will, on the other coast. We wish him luck.