‘Top Chef Masters’ Winner Floyd Cardoz Dies From Coronavirus Complications at 59

Floyd Cardoz
Fairchild Archive/Penske Media/Shutterstock

Floyd Cardoz, the winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” Season 3, died on Wednesday after testing positive for coronavirus, a spokesperson for his Hunger Inc. Hospitality confirmed to Variety. He was 59.

“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,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “He is survived by his mother Beryl, wife Barkha and sons Justin and Peter. Floyd tested positive for Covid 19, in USA, on March 18th and was being treated for the same at Mountainside Medical Centre, New Jersey, USA.”

Bravo also issued a statement via its Twitter account for “Top Chef Masters”: “Bravo and the ‘Top Chef’ family are deeply saddened by the passing of Chef Floyd Cardoz, Floyd was a talented chef who competed and won Top Chef Masters. He was thoughtful, kind and his smile illuminated a room. He was an inspiration to chefs around the world and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”

Cardoz shared on Instagram last week that he admitted himself to a hospital after feeling “feverish” following a trip to India on March 8.

Cardoz competed in Bravo’s third season of “Top Chef Masters” in 2011, where he ultimately came in first place. He was the co-owner of two popular restaurants in Mumbai, the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, and had recently launched his third venture, Bombay Sweet Shop. 

Cardoz was raised in Mumbai, and went to culinary school in Switzerland before moving to New York City. He later became the executive chef at Tabla, the esteemed Indian restaurant he opened with Danny Meyer in 1998. The restaurant closed in 2010, but earned Cardoz four nominations for the James Beard Award for Best Chef between 2004 and 2007. In 2009, he was a semifinalist for the prestigious award.

He later opened Pao Walta in New York City’s Soho neighborhood and also worked with Meyer in opening North End Grill. He was the author of two cookbooks, “One Spice, Two Spice; American Food, Indian Flavors” and “Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla: Big Flavor. Bold Spices. A New Way to Cook the Foods You Love.” He had recently returned from India where he was filming for the Netflix series, “Ugly Delicious,” with Aziz Ansari.

“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi posted a touching tribute to Cardoz on her Instagram.

“He had an impish smile, an innate need to make those around him happy, and a delicious touch,” wrote Lakshmi. “This is a huge loss not only for the professional food world, but for Indians everywhere. My heart goes out to his wife Barkha and their whole family. RIP.”