Chef Floyd Cardoz, who was behind acclaimed restaurants Tabla and Bombay Bread Bar, died on Wednesday from complications related to the coronavirus in a hospital in New Jersey, his family confirmed to Indian publication Scroll.in. Cardoz was 59 years old.
Hunger Inc., the company that runs the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro—two of Cardoz’s popular restaurants in Mumbai—confirmed the chef’s death to Scroll.in.
“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,” the statement said. “He is survived by his mother Beryl, wife Barkha and sons Justin and Peter.”
Chefs Around the World Mourned Cardoz
Cardoz won Top Chef Masters Season 3, a TV cooking competition, in 2011. Bravo, the network responsible for the Top Chef series, issued a statement about the chef’s death.
“Bravo and the Top Chef family are deeply saddened by the passing of Chef Floyd Cardoz. Floyd was a talented chef who competed and won Top Chef Masters. He was thoughtful, kind and his smile illuminated a room,” a spokesperson said. “He was an inspiration to chefs around the world and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”
Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi mourned Cardoz on Instagram. “Floyd 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,” she said. “This is a huge loss, not only for the professional food world but for the Indians everywhere.”
More chefs took to Twitter to grieve.
Cardoz Had Said He Was Hospitalized as a “Precautionary Measure”
In a post on his personal page last week, Cardoz shared a picture of himself in a hospital gown saying he was unwell but he didn’t want people to worry. “Sincere apologies everyone. I am sorry for causing undue panic around my earlier post,” he wrote.
“I was feeling feverish and hence as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York,” the chef said. “I was hugely anxious about my state of health and my post was highly irresponsible causing panic in several quarters.”
Last week, the Bombay Canteen, his newly opened restaurant, confirmed Cardoz had been hospitalized in an Instagram post, saying he was admitted with a “viral fever.” The chef had traveled to Mumbai before he returned to New York through Frankfurt airport on March 8. “He is being closely monitored for his condition and we wish him a speedy recovery,” they wrote at the time.
Cardoz Was a Groundbreaking Chef
Cardoz made his mark in the New York restaurant scene after opening Tabla, a fine dining Indian restaurant in 1998, Eater New York wrote. At the time, there weren’t many high-end Indian restaurants. Tabla was groundbreaking, garnering three stars from the New York Times. It closed in 2010, but it was a favorite among its cult foodies, who will always remember Tabla for its bread.
For Cardoz, it wasn’t just about how good the food tasted. “Good food is not only about how it looks on the plate,” the chef told People magazine in 2015. “It’s about how good it makes the person eating it feel.”
Cardoz went to culinary school in Mumbai and interned at the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel. He studied hotel management in Switzerland and attended the culinary school Les Roches.