Friends of the late Carl Ruiz are keeping his memory alive by sharing tributes and happy memories from their time with the chef.
The Food Network star, who appeared on shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Guy’s Ranch Kitchen among others, died at age 44 on Saturday night. His family confirmed the sad news by establishing a Twitter account, @wemisscarlruiz. “He was all about great times, great food and great friends,” Ruiz’s brother George wrote on behalf of their family. “Please remember his laugh and his wit.”
The cause of death has not been announced, though the restaurant owner’s close friend Matt Farah wrote on Instagram that he had “passed peacefully in his sleep.”
Farah, host of YouTube’s The Smoking Tire, has been honoring his friend by posting some of his favorite photos with Ruiz, including one from the rehearsal dinner before his wedding in April. “[Carl] was late because he stopped for a Hot Dog,” he wrote. “Carl was the kind of guy who would be late to your wedding rehearsal because of a hot dog, and when he got there, all you’d want to know was if the hot dog was good. And if it was, you’d make the detour for one of your own the very next day.”
Our family mourns the loss of Carl Ruiz. He was all about great times, great food and great friends. Please remember his laugh and his wit. He made everyone feel special. He is loved and will be deeply missed. George Ruiz- Carl’s brother- on behalf of the Ruiz family pic.twitter.com/be08djf8h8— rememberingcarlruiz (@wemisscarlruiz) September 22, 2019
Guy Fieri posted a touching tribute, saying he was “heartbroken” that Ruiz had died. “His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef,” said Fieri. Dedications from culinary stars like Alex Guarnaschelli, Richard Blais, Michael Symon and more followed.
“This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny & unique all in 1,” wrote Guarnaschelli. “My life will be lonelier without him. Love you Carl. I’ll make sure no one puts pineapple on pizza best I can without you here.”
Carl Ruiz was an inspiration; a talented chef with the most amazing intellect. His charm, wit and generosity were without peer. My thoughts go out to his family. Carl, I miss you. pic.twitter.com/ehLLmbtF9f— Jonathan Waxman (@chefjwaxman) September 23, 2019
This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny & unique all in 1. My life will be lonelier without him. Love you Carl. I’ll make sure no one puts pineapple on pizza best I can without you here. 💔#rip @carlruiz pic.twitter.com/zgzVX1xlhy— alex guarnaschelli (@guarnaschelli) September 22, 2019
You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon @carlruiz ! I will always be #ruizing! You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend. Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives. #GGG pic.twitter.com/4g3Xyfq9kH— Jet Tila (@jettila) September 22, 2019
Such incredibly sad news.....@carlruiz you will be missed my friend. May the heavens welcome you brother 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼— Scott Conant (@conantnyc) September 22, 2019
For you Carl. You’re a beautiful man who lived to fill the hearts of everyone who knew you with warmth and laughter and joy. My world is more dim without you in it but infinitely brighter for having you as a friend. I miss you already. #ruizing pic.twitter.com/UMm7Df6yqi— Duff Goldman (@duffgoldman) September 23, 2019
Fans and friends are honoring Ruiz by “#ruizing”, a term he coined to spread his carefree outlook on life and passion for good food.
“Everyone, go eat something you love today and post a pic and use this hashtag #ruizing,” Richard Blais encouraged on Instagram.
After sharing all the reasons she’ll miss her friend, chef Aarti Sequeira got candid about how difficult it can be when “life continues” amidst grief.
“Everyone goes back to their lives. And yet my heart is hollow. Why does the world keep spinning? Why does the sun still shine? Why don’t the stones cry out that you are gone? That the brightest, kindest bottle rocket of a man has left us?” she wrote. “And yet I remind my overly dramatic heart that this is how you would have wanted it. Go back to work, go back to your life, but enjoy it. Take a big juicy bite out of your life and relish it. I’ll do my best, friend.”
A representative for La Cubana, the restaurant Ruiz recently opened in New York City, told PEOPLE they plan to establish The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation, which will help aspiring chefs.
“We love you!” the restaurant staff wrote in a statement. “You are already missed. Rest easy.”