Azul: Huff Out, New Menu Items In

Categories: Restaurant News
Thumbnail image for azul.jpg
Azul has recently had chef and menu changes.
Rumors have been swirling regarding the future of Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel after it was made known that executive chef Joel Huff left, almost exactly a year after he started his duties at the posh and gorgeous restaurant.

Eater Miami reported that a source revealed a celebrity chef was checking out Azul while Huff was still in the kitchen. After witnessing the unnamed chef perusing the restaurant three times, the source mused, "I can see them closing Azul for this opportunity if they can close the deal."

Alexandra Wensley, Mandarin Oriental Miami's director of communications, told Short Order that the rumor is not true. She confirmed Huff's departure, stating that Huff "moved on to pursue other opportunities" and that the restaurant is looking for a chef -- but they are not pursuing a celebrity chef.

Wensley did not comment on whether the Azul name and concept are secure or open to change, but did confirm that in the interim, Azul's sous chef, Jacob Anaya, will take over the kitchen, keeping most of Azul's signature dishes and adding some of his own inspirations. Anaya started at the restaurant a year ago, about the same time Huff arrived.

In fact, Anaya has added four new dishes to the menu, giving diners an opportunity to try something new and allowing the chef to shine. The dishes include smoked Mediterranean octopus with French curry, brown-butter baba ghannouj, and crisp eggplant skin ($22); pickled ramp risotto with carnaroli rice, rock shrimp, ramp coulis, and Meyer lemon ($30); lobster mousseline with butternut squash and brown butter ($36); and pan-seared branzino with textures of celery, scallops kalamata, and Castello Vetrano olives, and celeriac veluté ($37).

No word yet where Joel Huff will turn up, but we're looking forward to big things. After all, Azul seems to be a lucky charm for chefs in Miami, with Michelle Bernstein and Clay Conley going on to much success and many accolades after turning in their Azul toques.

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Location Info

Azul Restaurant

500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

I heard he is joining the new FB team over at Viceroy. Wish I could join him there.

Jean St. Pierre
Jean St. Pierre

Hey Lame Doss told me he is going to the Viceroy.......sak pase coco santi

Mr Knowitall
Mr Knowitall

Huff was too good for Azul.  He will kill it wherever he lands.  I wish him luck and I can't wait to eat his food again.


Thomas Keller group taking over.  I guess AMEX was running the commercials in Miami for a reason.

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