Bhanage, who co-founded the hospitality company Hunger Inc. with Cardoz, Sameer Seth and Thomas Zacharias in 2014, said Cardoz was “much more than just a business partner. He was our mentor, guide, father figure all rolled into one amazing human being.”
Cardoz died of complications due to coronavirus at Mountainside Medical Centre in New Jersey, according to a spokesperson for the restaurant company. He was first admitted to the hospital with a fever and tested positive for COVID-19 one week ago.
Cardoz and his co-founders ran The Bombay Canteen, Bombay Sweet Shop and O Pedro restaurant in Mumbai, India. Bhanage spoke of how he was a guiding force for the team in business — and in life.
“He kept us grounded and humble during the high moments and lifted our spirits whenever we felt down in the dumps,” said Bhanage to PEOPLE. “He played a huge role in the success of Hunger Inc. Hospitality and our restaurants bringing perspective and contributions that only he could.
“His passing has left a deep void that can never be filled,” he added. “We will truly miss him.”
An outpouring of love for Cardoz flooded social media on Wednesday after his close friends and fellow celebrity chefs learned of his passing. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi posted a touching tribute, as did Hugh Acheson, David Chang, and Alex Guarnaschelli.
Floyd. You were a gem. You were an amazing human and chef. You were a father and husband full of love and grace. I am so sorry. I love you. Rest in Peace my friend. #floydcardoz— Hugh Acheson (@HughAcheson) March 25, 2020
Devastating news about Chef Floyd Cardoz. I can’t process it. A true gentleman in every sense and a great credit to the chef community. He will be sorely missed. #rip— alex guarnaschelli (@guarnaschelli) March 25, 2020
People may not realize it, but so much of the food you eat today was influenced by Floyd when he was the cdc at Lespinasse with the late chef Grey Kunz. The family tree that branched out of that hall of fame kitchen changed gastronomy in America for the better— Dave Chang (@davidchang) March 25, 2020
Cardoz was born in Bombay, India, and moved to New York City to work in restaurant kitchens. In 1997, he partnered with famed restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group to open the contemporary Indian restaurant Tabla, which quickly became an iconic Manhattan establishment, earning three stars from the New York Times. He subsequently opened North End Grill, Paowalla and Bombay Bread Bar in the city.“Good food is not only about how it looks on the plate,” he told PEOPLE in 2015 of his passion for the hospitality industry. “It’s about how good it makes the person eating it feel.”
Cardoz is survived by his mother Beryl, his wife and business partner, Barkha, whom he met at hospitality school in India, and their two sons, Peter, 27, and Justin, 22.