- World-renowned chef Floyd Cardoz, 59, died from coronavirus complications at a New Jersey hospital on Wednesday.
- The "Top Chef Masters" winner had posted an Instagram photo of himself at the hospital just a week ago.
- In the caption, Cardoz said he had flown to New York from Mumbai — where he was the co-owner of two restaurants — on March 8. Cardoz's restaurant group said he tested positive for the disease 10 days later.
- The chef, who recently appeared on David Chang's Netflix show "Ugly Delicious," is credited with bringing Indian cuisine to New York's fine-dining scene.
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The NYC dining scene has had a devastating week due to the coronavirus pandemic, and now it has lost one of its own to the disease.
World-renowned chef Floyd Cardoz, who is credited with bringing Indian cuisine to fine dining in New York, died at a New Jersey hospital on Wednesday. He was 59 years old.
Cardoz's family confirmed his death to the Indian English-language news site Scroll.in. He leaves behind his wife Barkha and two sons, Justin and Peter.
Cardoz's restaurant group, Hunger Inc. Hospitality, issued a statement about the chef's death. It stated that Cardoz had tested positive for the coronavirus on March 18 and was being treated at the Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair before his death.
The "Top Chef Masters" winner had posted an Instagram photo from his hospital bed just a week ago.
View this post on Instagram
Sincere apologies everyone. I am sorry for causing undue panic around my earlier post. I was feeling feverish and hence as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York. I was hugely anxious about my state of health and my post was highly irresponsible causing panic in several quarters. I returned to New York on March 8th via Frankfurt
In the caption, Cardoz said he had flown to New York from Mumbai — where he owned two restaurants — on March 8.
"I was feeling feverish and hence, as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York," he wrote.
Following his Instagram post, Cardoz's restaurant group confirmed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus on March 18.
"As a precautionary measure we have informed the Health Department in Mumbai," the statement read. "We are also reaching out personally to people who have interacted with him during his visit to India, so they can take necessary medical advice should they indicate any symptoms."
Cardoz, who was born in Mumbai, first made a splash in NYC's dining scene in the early 1990s as executive sous-chef at the renowned French restaurant Lespinasse, which held an elusive four-star rating from The New York Times.
But Cardoz really made a name for himself when he opened Tabla with Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group in 1998. The fine-dining Indian restaurant was an instant hit, receiving three stars from the Times.
In her 1999 review of the restaurant, the Times critic Ruth Reichl called it "love at first bite."
"The flavors are so powerful, original, and unexpected that they evoke intense emotions," she wrote. "This is what I have been waiting for. Nothing I have tasted since has changed my mind."
Pete Wells, the Times' current restaurant critic, paid tribute to Cardoz's impact on New York's dining scene in a 2016 review for Paowalla, the chef's second Indian restaurant in New York.
"He used the language of Indian cuisine to say things we had never heard before," Wells wrote. "A native of Mumbai, he showed us that the Indian spice cabinet can perform many other tricks besides curry."
"Upstairs at Tabla, he helped end the era in which the fine-dining wing of the restaurant business operated as a club to which cuisines of non-European descent need not apply," Wells added. "At the bottom of the winding staircase, in the little lounge known as Bread Bar, he showed us that a serious chef could pull off a more affordable and accessible menu without pandering."
Cardoz later turned Paowalla into Bombay Bread Bar, a popular restaurant in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood that just closed last year.
View this post on Instagram
“TIFFIN” nothing says simple Indian food eaten by Indians more than the Tiffin. Growing up our cook would send this tower to my father at his office as well as to us kids at school. This was our lunch box…but only better. We will be Introducing our versions served Dimsum style at Brunch @thebombaybreadbar #brunch
He also owned Mumbai restaurants The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, and had just launched Bombay Sweet Shop.
Cardoz won season three of "Top Chef Masters" in 2011, and appeared in the second season of celebrity chef David Chang's Netflix series "Ugly Delicious," which premiered in February.
Both Wells and Chang paid tribute to Cardoz after news of his death broke on Wednesday.
Many on Twitter also wrote about the huge impact Cardoz had on Indian cuisine in America.
At least 19,700 people have died due to the coronavirus, which has spread to at least 172 countries and territories around the world.
The US has seen more than 60,000 cases and 800 deaths at the time of writing.
New York has the largest number of coronavirus cases of any US state, with more than 30,000 confirmed cases and 285 deaths as of Wednesday.
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