Celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz, winner of Top Chef Masters, dies of coronavirus complications

Chef Floyd Cardoz, who competed on Top Chef, won Top Chef Masters and operated successful restaurants in both Mumbai and New York, died Wednesday of complications from the coronavirus, his company said in a statement. He was 59.

Cardoz had travelled from Mumbai to New York through Frankfurt on March 8. He was admitted a week ago to Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, N.J., with a fever and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, the statement said.

The committed advocate of making the food industry more sustainable began his hospitality training in his native Mumbai. He later moved to Switzerland, where he honed his skills in French, Italian and Indian cuisine before moving on to the kitchens of New York City.

He was a partner in Bombay Sweet Shop, O Pedro and The Bombay Canteen in India at the time of his death.

The Indo-American chef partnered with famed restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group to open Tabla in 1997. The Manhattan spot was praised by critics. It closed in 2010.

‘An inspiration to chefs around the world’

Cardoz’s death was mourned by famous friends in both the restaurant and television industries.

“Love you so much @floydcardoz,” Meyer tweeted, calling him a “beautiful human being.”

The two worked together for 17 years. At Tabla, they celebrated Cardoz’s new Indian cuisine that melded the sensual flavours and spices of his homeland with Western techniques.

.@floydcardoz made us all so proud. Nobody who lived in NY in the early aughts could forget how delicious and packed Tabla always was. He had an impish smile, an innate need to make those around him happy, and a delicious touch. This is a huge loss… pic.twitter.com/Q6eRVIpZkL


Bravo and the #TopChef family are deeply saddened by the passing of Chef Floyd Cardoz. He was an inspiration to chefs around the world and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. https://t.co/HRJVKsApA3


Padma Lakshmi, host of the Bravo cooking competition series Top Chef, praised the success of Tabla and offered condolences to Cardoz’s loved ones, including his wife and business partner, Barkha.

“He had an impish smile, an innate need to make those around him happy, and a delicious touch,” Lakshmi tweeted.

The Twitter account for Top Chef offered condolences and called Cardoz “an inspiration to chefs around the world.”

In 2011, Cardoz competed in and won Season 3 of Top Chef Masters. He used his $110,000 US in winnings to support the Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The now-independent foundation, referred to as the Young Scientist Foundation, enables high school and college students to work alongside accomplished researchers to develop new treatments for diseases, according to a spokesperson for Cardoz’s company. It was a central focus of his charity work.

In addition to Tabla, Cardoz and Meyer partnered in 2012 on North End Grill, a Battery Park City staple that was a downtown Manhattan favourite until its closing in 2018. In addition to his work with Meyer, Cardoz partnered with Sameer Seth and Yash Bhanage in Hunger Inc. Hospitality starting in 2015.

Cardoz was a four-time James Beard Award nominee. He was the author of two cookbooks, One Spice, Two Spice and Flavorwalla. In 2008, he launched a line of ready to cook entrees in collaboration with the online grocer Fresh Direct. 

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