Floyd Cardoz, a celebrated Indian American chef in New York City who had a huge impact on the international culinary world, died Wednesday after testing positive for the coronavirus a week ago.
"He was the happiest guy and the most welcoming host at any of the restaurants he worked for," Perlow said. "It's a tremendous loss to the culinary world now that he's gone."
Cardoz, 59, was being treated at the Mountainside Medical Centre in New Jersey after he tested positive for the virus on March 18, a spokesperson for Hunger Inc. Hospitality, where he was a partner, told BuzzFeed News. He was in Mumbai recently and flew back to New York on March 8 via Frankfurt. Cardoz is survived by his mother, Beryl, his wife, Barkha, and their sons, Justin and Peter.
Cardoz, a four-time James Beard Award nominee and a winner of Top Chef Masters, helmed the iconic Tabla restaurant in New York City before it shut in 2010.
He was the partner at two popular restaurants in Mumbai — the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro — and had recently launched a third establishment, Bombay Sweet Shop.
Cardoz's death was met with shock and grief by chefs, food critics and writers, restaurateurs, and others across the culinary world where he was long considered a pioneer of bringing Indian flavours to America.
Jason Perlow, a former food blogger in Florida, often met Cardoz at food events in New York City and at Tabla, where he dined frequently with his wife and friends in the mid-2000s. "He was always the most accommodating person," Perlow explains. Perlow said he distinctly remembered that Cardoz was one of the first people to import Indian mangoes to New York City and introduced the fruit to the American culinary world at Tabla.
Perlow recalled how Cardoz took him and his wife to the back of his kitchen at Tabla where there were "boxes and boxes of Indian mangoes." Cardoz would peel "a special one" for Perlow and his wife and make a dessert with it for them, usually a rice pudding.
"For those who have been watching this thing sequestered in our homes, you hear of people dying on the internet. But it doesn't really hit you until it's somebody that you know," Perlow said.
Cardoz had a huge impact on many younger chefs in India.
Floyd Cardoz was born in Bombay and raised in that city and in the fabled trading centre of Goa. He trained as a biochemist before he discovered where his real passion lay--in a restaurant kitchen. After culinary school in India and Switzerland, he moved to New York City.