To be born and raised in India and go on ‘to lead an influential New York City kitchen at Tabla’, as the New York Times vouches, is no mean feat. International restauranteur FloydCardoz, who died on Tuesday due to coronavirus related complications, is credited as being “the first chef to bring the sweep and balance of his native Indian cooking to fine dining in the United States”.
Floyd, 59, had gone on to head the kitchens at North End Grill, in Battery Park City; at White Street, in TriBeCa; and at Paowalla, in SoHo, which became Bombay Bread Bar. Winner of the culinary competition television show “Top Chef Masters” in 2011 with his twist on the traditional South Indian breakfast item, Upma, he went on to open the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro. The latter was influenced by his family’s Portuguese roots in Goa.
Incidentally, Cardoz had visited the city this month itself for the Bombay Canteen anniversary party. He also oversaw the opening of his Bombay Sweet Sho. He had shared on Instagram, that he had fallen ill soon after returning home to Roseland,N.J., on March 8. Chef Cardoz is survived by his wife; his sons, Peter and Justin; his mother, Beryl Cardoz; and five siblings. And not to forget innumerable staff, friends and fans.
www.freepressjournal.in spoke to a selection of city celebrities and chefs who shared insights into the man he was...
Chef Varun Inamdar
Devastated by the news. Tried to reach him to check on his health earlier, to no answer. Hoax I assumed it was, till some news channels flashed it with authority of confirmation. Thought he would come out smiling with his stories and anecdotes as always with a tingeof diffidence. Extremely gentle, soft spoken and large hearted. One of the leading lights of Indian cuisine internationally. Loved the way he spoke—albeit shyly—about his Chicken Makhani twisted with rosemary and Riesling. His exquisite Bread bar, Kachumber cooler, Bacon naan, Eggs Patia, Chorizo Biryani are some of his signatures that I can think of andwould miss, forever!
I only met him once. But, from all accounts, a super talented and lovely guy. He made it in New York. ‘And if you can make it there you can make it anywhere’. The bad live forever ... the good??
Such sad news. First met him at Paowalla, his restaurant at New York and am a big fan of Bombay Canteen. Didn’t know him beyond that really.
Chef Vicky Ratnani
A huge loss! He has been an inspiration and a brother for me. I met him in NYC 10 years ago, ate at his restaurants. We shared some very close common friends. I am in a shock
Sad to hear about Floyd. Unfortunately, never got a chance to know or meet. Saddened to hear of his passing.
Floyd Cardoz was someone that I gravitated towards right when I discovered my love for food writing. His genuine passion always shone through, and he seemed to me like the most radiant, down-to-earth guy. I was lucky enough to speak to Chef Floyd in 2016, to help him write a self-authored piece for the lifestyle magazine I worked with. To be honest, I pitched that story only so I could talk to him, and I didn't regret it. He sounded like someone I already knew. He spoke about comfort food, about his mother's sorpotel, about a restaurant near Churchgate station, about the Indian Railways' "bony chicken curry". He asked me so much about myself and the food I love, about my grandparents’ cooking and what my father taught me, about bebinca and dried fish. I'll always cherish that because it was such a joyful exchange of memories, likes and dislikes; he wasn't intimidating at all, but rather spoke to me as if I had just as much experience as him. When he read the final piece, he asked if my name could be in the byline with his, because "I just ramble so much nonsense and somehow you've made this sound good." He was so grateful and kind, and said that I had an open invitation to any of his restaurants, but when he was there -- so he could personally cook. I wish I'd taken him upon that.