'Top Chef Masters' winner Floyd Cardoz dies of coronavirus complications at 59

The culinary world is mourning the loss of a pioneering chef.
Taste of Tennis Week: Taste of Tennis Gala - Arrivals
Brad Barket / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Floyd Cardoz, a groundbreaking Indian chef who won Bravo's "Top Chef Masters," has died after testing positive for coronavirus at age 59.

The celebrated chef, who recently appeared on the Netflix series "Ugly Delicious," was a co-owner of two restaurants, The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, in Mumbai, India.

On March 18, Cardoz admitted himself to a New York-area hospital after reportedly feeling feverish. He had recently returned from a trip to Mumbai, where he was set to open a third restaurant, Bombay Sweet Shop. A representative for the chef confirmed to TODAY that Cardoz passed away on March 25 after being treated for COVID-19.

In his last Instagram post, Cardoz shared a picture of himself in the hospital with a note to friends and followers saying that he was sorry for causing any "undue" alarm about his condition.

"Sincere apologies everyone," he wrote. "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."

The news of the chef's death came as a shock to many in the culinary world. One of Cardoz's Bombay Canteen co-founders, Yash Bhanage, spoke to TODAY Food about his culinary director's passing.

"Chef Floyd Cardoz was much more than just a business partner for us, Sameer, Thomas and myself," he said. "He was our mentor, guide, father figure all rolled into one amazing human being. He kept us grounded and humble during the high moments and lifted our spirits whenever we felt down in the dumps."

Bhanage continued, "His passing has left a deep void that can never be filled. We will truly miss him."

On Wednesday, celebrity chefs and those who knew Cardoz spoke out on social media with messages of sympathy and support.

"I cannot believe you are gone...I just can’t," David Chang wrote on Cardoz's last Instagram post. "World without you is just not right"

Chang, who frequently appeared with Cardoz on his series "Ugly Delicious," also shared a photo of himself with his friend on his own Instagram feed.

"Heartbroken over the loss of Floyd Cardoz to COVID-19," Chang wrote. "Rest in peace Floyd...we will carry on your beautiful legacy. Chang added the hashtags #tablaforever #bombaycanteen and #sonofgoa to his post.

"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi tweeted out a tribute to her fellow Bravo star.

"@floydcardoz made us all so proud," she wrote. "Nobody who lived in NY in the early aughts could forget how delicious and packed Tabla always was. He had an impish smile, an innate need to make those around him happy, and a delicious touch. This is a huge loss..."

Lakshmi added a message saying how this was a loss for Indians everywhere while sending her love to the chef's wife and sons.

Food writer and "Indian-ish" cookbook author Priya Krishna expressed her gratitude to Cardoz for how much he did "to advance the cause of Indian food and Indian people in America" on Twitter, as well as in an emailed statement to TODAY Food:

"He was so generous, and he wanted us all to succeed," she wrote. "He paved the way for an American understanding of Indian cuisine beyond just a few anglicized dishes. My career wouldn't exist without what he did. I'll always be sad I never got to eat at Tabla."

The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells also shared a message on Twitter honoring Cardoz.

Hugh Acheson, a fellow "Top Chef" competitor, was also saddened by the news.

Cardoz was a culinary force in the New York restaurant scene. He first made his mark with Tabla, which he opened along with Danny Meyer and the Union Square Hospitality Group in 1998, bringing Indian cuisine into the fine-dining world with his critically acclaimed restaurant. He also helmed Bombay Bread Bar in New York City. Over the years, he collaborated with Meyer on several restaurants and culinary projects.

Both restaurants are now closed, but Cardoz had been continuing to expand his restaurant empire in India at the time of his death.

Cardoz is survived by his mother, Beryl, his wife, Barkha and two sons, Peter, 27, and Justin, 22.