The food world mourns the loss of the pioneering Bombay Canteen chef.

By Maria Yagoda
March 25, 2020
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One of the world's most influential chefs has fallen victim to the coronavirus. Floyd Cardoz, chef and founder of Bombay Canteen and O Pedro in Mumbai, has died at 59 of COVID-19, his family has confirmed.

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

On March 18, the Mumbai-raised chef posted on Instagram that he had been admitted to a New York hospital for a fever, and that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. As soon as the website Scroll.in broke the news of his death on Wednesday morning, tributes spread across social media and the food world, with fans mourning the loss of a brilliant culinary mind and chef who changed the way many Americans thought about Indian cooking.

"It was an honor to know Floyd," wrote Food & Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah on Twitter. "He was a kind, ground breaking chef who paved the way for so many South Asians."

"Floyd Cardoz was an exceptional talent, a chef equally at home with undiluted Indian flavors as he was with the delicious union of French, Indian and American food, a personal idiom that he invented," wrote New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells. 

On Twitter, Dave Chang posted,"I feel so terrible for his family and his two sons. All the cooks and managers that worked under him. Easily one of the most beloved people in the business. He was criminally under appreciated, introduced so many new flavors and techniques to America." Chang also wrote that "Floyd was one of my earliest supporters and he would saddle up at the old noodle bar with his sons and they would each order a bowl of spicy tripe."

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Cardoz, who died in New Jersey, recently opened a third concept in Mumbai, the Bombay Sweet Shop. Many credit his now-shuttered Manhattan restaurant, Tabla, with marking a new era for Indian cuisine in New York. "If you give people something familiar to connect to, like salmon fillet or roast chicken, they're much more likely to take a risk on a new flavor," he told Food & Wine in 2015.

Earlier this year, Cardoz collaborated with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group to bring O Pedro—his popular Goan restaurant in Mumbai—to life at Intersect by Lexus in the Meatpacking district of New York.