Floyd Cardoz Dead, ‘Top Chef Masters’ Star Dies Of Coronavirus At 59

Chef Floyd Cardoz with kerala style banana leaf salmon from Paowalla at the 2016 New York Taste.
Brian Ach / Getty Images

Chef Floyd Cardoz has died of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as reported by Indian media outlet Scroll.in. Cardoz, known for appearing on Top Chef Masters, was 59.

Cardoz was the co-owner of two restaurants in India, The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, both located in Mumbai. The restaurants’ respective websites list him as the culinary director. Hunger Inc., the parent company of the restaurants, released a statement.

“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. He is survived by his mother Beryl, wife Barkha and sons Justin and Peter.”

Cardoz shared a selfie from a hospital bed a week ago, apologizing for “causing undue panic.” Cardoz arrived in New York City from Mumbai on March 8. Hunger Inc. confirmed Cardoz’s hospitalization in an Instagram post.

Cardoz built his reputation as a world-class chef with his Indian fine-dining restaurant Tabla, which opened in 1998. The restaurant was groundbreaking at the time, receiving a three-star review from The New York Times and almost instant popularity, according to the New York Post. While Tabla closed in 2010, Cardoz would go on to open establishments in both New York City and India. The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro are two of Mumbai’s most popular restaurants, while his Soho restaurant Bombay Bread Bar, formerly Paowalla, closed in 2019.

Cardoz had a longtime working relationship with hospitality mogul Danny Meyer, beginning with Tabla. They would go on to open North End Grill in Battery Park, which remained open between 2012 and 2018. Meyer, the founder of Shake Shack, paid tribute to the chef on Twitter, simply writing “Love you so much” and tagging Cardoz.

Cardoz achieved nationwide fame through his appearance on the third season of Top Chef Masters, which aired in 2011. That season marked a departure from the show’s previous five-star rating system; instead, Cardoz and his 11 fellow contestants were judged in elimination-style challenges in the vein of the format for the original Top Chef series. Cardoz was the winner of Week 4’s episode, in which the chefs were challenged to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert less than 1,500 calories for the trainers and contestants on The Biggest Loser. His offerings in the finale — a challenge to create a three-course meal representing his life as a chef — reflected his heritage: Wild Mushroom Upma Polenta with Kokum and Coconut Milk, Rice Flaked Snapper and Tomato-Fennel Broth with Carrots, and Rendang 2 Ways: Oxtail and Short Ribs, Tapioca Pilaf with Diced Potato and Peanuts.