Carl Ruiz, the celebrity chef and Food Network star who died unexpectedly in September, was celebrated by fellow chefs, fans and his friends on what would have been his 45th birthday.
The funny and talented chef, who was also the owner of New York City's La Cubana restaurant, inspired tributes from Guy Fieri and many others that were posted on Saturday, April 4.
"Happy birthday to one of my favorite people!" Fieri captioned a series of pictures featuring himself and Ruiz. "You were a chef, friend, comedian, instigator, retaliator... lol, and the list goes on. Miss you Cuban, the world isn’t the same without you. #RIP my brutha."
Fieri gave Ruiz his first big break on TV when his deli, Marie's Italian Specialties in New Jersey, was featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Ruiz and Fieri became frequent collaborators, with Ruiz making appearances on "Guy's Ranch Kitchen" and "Guy's Grocery Games," the latter of which recently aired a special "April Fools" tribute show to the late chef.
Other chefs and friends posted tributes, including Alex Guarnaschelli, who shared a photo of the sun shining down on Ruiz decked out in a fur coat and a New York Giants hat that perfectly captured the chef's spirit.
"This is my fave pic of @saborchef at the ranch @dddchico Miss you Carl," posted the chef and "Chopped" judge. "Happy happy birthday. 💔 🖤 Rest in birthday peace 😔 #TheCuban #ruizing."
"Happy birthday," Ruiz's friend Aaron Irizarry posted on the Instagram page for his blog, Forking Delicious. He also shared a photo of the two of them outside La Cubana. "May your passion for life and food continue to guide us in your absence. #ruizing #ruizingforever #restinpower #cubanomagnifico."
The term #ruizing was coined by the late chef to describe his easy-going outlook, unique sense of style and special brand of culinary flare.
Fans on Instagram posted their own tributes to the chef, using the hashtag that's become synonymous with his name, his restaurant and his lust for life.
Ruiz, who was originally from New Jersey and graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education, hosted "Omg Carl's Food Show" on YouTube, where he reviewed chain restaurants such as Applebee's and In-N-Out Burger.
Ruiz's restaurant, La Cubana, had just opened in June before he suddenly passed away. The restaurant has since established the Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation to help provide financial support to aspiring chefs.