Pioneering New York-based chef Floyd Cardoz, who introduced the Big Apple to Indian fine dining, has died at the age of 59 from the coronavirus.
The Mumbai-born chef died on Tuesday at Mountainside hospital in New Jersey. Cardoz admitted himself into hospital on 8 March after returning from a trip to India. He wrote on his Instagram account that he was feeling “feverish”.
Cardoz opened the game-changing Tabla with restaurateur Danny Meyer in Manhattan’s Flatiron district in 1998, which received a rave opening review from Ruth Reichl of The New York Times, who described the cooking as: “American food viewed through a kaleidoscope of Indian spices.”
This week Meyer described Cardoz as “a super-taster, big-hearted and stubborn as the day is long. He never once lost his sense of love for those he’d worked with, mentored and mattered to.”
Prior to Tabla, Cardoz cut his teeth at fine dining restaurant Lespinasse, where he worked as executive sous-chef under Swiss chef Gray Kunz, introducing Indian spices like cardamom and turmeric to the French dishes.
He stepped things up at Tabla, elevating Indian cuisine and introducing New Yorkers to Indian-American fine dining dishes with a contemporary twist. The restaurant was particularly famed for its bread.
Cardoz was born in Mumbai on 2 October 1960. After studying biochemistry, he pursued a culinary career at hospitality school in Mumbai.
After graduating he worked for the Taj hotel group before moving to Switzerland to continue his culinary career, winding up in New York in 1988.
In 2011 Cardoz became a hero in India when he won the TV show Top Chef Masters. He went on to open the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro in Mumbai.
After Tabla closed in 2010, Cardoz headed up the kitchen at Paowalla in SoHo, which went on to become the Bombay Bread Bar. In 2016 he published the cookbook Flavorwalla, aimed at home cooks. He is survived by his wife, sons Peter and Justin, his mother and five siblings.