'Top Chef Master' Floyd Cardoz of Tabla passes away from coronavirus complications, culinary world bids adieu
He traveled from Mumbai and got himself admitted at a New Jersey hospital with fever
Indian-born international chef Floyd Cardoz, who tested positive for COVID-19, died of the infection in a hospital in New Jersey on Wednesday, March 25. The co-owner of Hunger Inc., which runs three restaurants in Mumbai, India — Bombay Canteen, O'Pedro, and Bombay Sweet Shop — had been in Mumbai until March 8. In an Instagram post on March 18, however, he said that he had admitted himself to hospital in New Jersey, after experiencing a fever.
He had then issued a statement on his Instagram account: “Sincere apologies everyone. I am sorry for causing undue panic around my earlier post. I was feeling feverish and hence as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York. I was hugely anxious about my state of health and my post was highly irresponsible causing panic in several quarters. I returned to New York on March 8th via Frankfurt.”
According to reports, Hunger Inc. had issued a statement announcing that Cardoz had tested positive for COVID-19, and asked those who had come into contact with him to take precautions. The statement read: “As a precautionary measure we have informed the Health Department in Mumbai about the same. We are also reaching out personally to people who have interacted with him during his visit to India, so they can take necessary medical advice should they indicate any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and/or (put themselves in) self-quarantine.”
On Wednesday, Hunger Inc. issued a statement regarding Cardoz’s death. It read: “It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing away of Chef Floyd Cardoz (59 years), Co-Founder, Hunger Inc. Hospitality, on March 25, 2020 in New Jersey, USA. He is survived by his mother Beryl, wife Barkha and sons Justin and Peter. Floyd tested positive for Covid 19, in the USA, on March 18th and was being treated for the same at Mountainside Medical Centre, New Jersey, USA.”
Cardoz has been responsible for the success of several restaurants in New York and Mumbai. He was also the star of the TV show ‘Top Chef Masters’ and had even recently made an appearance in the second season of the Netflix food-culture documentary series ‘Ugly Delicious’. He authored two books, ‘One Spice, Two Spice’, and ‘Flavorwalla’.
Cardoz was born in Mumbai and raised in both Mumbai and Goa. He studied biochemistry but soon switched to culinary arts, attending culinary schools in India and Switzerland before moving to New York City.
Many have expressed their grief over Cardoz’s passing. Bollywood actor and filmmaker Rahul Bose wrote on Twitter: “Shocked to hear the passing away of @floydcardoz. Apart from enjoying sterling meals at his various restaurants in New York & Bombay, he was a wonderful man - always warm, gracious and funny. Any pandemic always gets more ominous when you know those who have succumbed. RIP Floyd.”
Pete Wells, the New York Times food critic, tweeted, “Floyd Cardoz was an exceptional talent, a chef equally at home with undiluted Indian flavors as he was with the delicious union of French, Indian and American food, a personal idiom that he invented.”
Chef Kunal Kapur, one of the judges of ‘Masterchef India’, wrote, “It is sad to share that chef Floyd Cardozo @floydcardoz is no more. He has been an inspiration to many and I was hoping to cook with him someday. Falling to #covid19 just goes to show that this threat is very real so everyone please take care of yourselves. RIP cheffie. #corona.”
Restaurateur Danny Meyer, with whom he was the co-owner of the restaurant, Tabla, said, “Few people have done more than Floyd to impact an entire industry, the career trajectories of more cooks, or the palates of more restaurant-goers. He was beyond talented as a cook. He was a super-taster, big-hearted, stubborn as the day is long, and the most loyal friend, husband, and dad you could imagine. My heart is just broken. His life and career was full of triumph and adversity. We opened and closed two restaurants together and in that time he never once lost his sense of love for those he’d worked with, mentored, and mattered to. He made monumental contributions to our industry and to my organization, and his passing leaves us with a gaping hole.”
Chef Dave Chang, the face of ‘Ugly Delicious’, wrote on Twitter, “I don’t want to believe this,” adding, “I feel so terrible for his family and his two sons. All the cooks and managers that worked under him. Easily one of the most beloved people in the business. He was criminally under-appreciated, introduced so many new flavors and techniques to America. Tabla forever.”