Tom Colicchio opens up about 'Top Chef Masters' star Floyd Cardoz's death from coronavirus: 'It's just devastating'

Tom Colicchio remembers that every time he talked to Floyd Cardoz, the Top Chef Masters winner who died March 25 of complications from the coronavirus, one thing was consistent.

“The thing with Floyd is — and everybody says this, so this is true — every conversation you had with Floyd, he would talk about his family,” Colicchio said during BUILD at Home on Friday. “Always. What his kids were doing. He was really proud of them, they were in college. He was just that kind of guy, you know. It’s just devastating.”

Colicchio, a Top Chef judge and a restaurateur, said he talked to Cardoz about every other month.

“It’s hard to comprehend of someone who you talked to a little ago who was healthy and just, you know, gone. Gone,” Colicchio said. “This is where you get frustrated. This is where you get frustrated, quite frankly, with our government’s response when they saw this happening and didn’t take the necessary steps to make sure that we were protected.”

Floyd Cardoz died March 25 of the coronavirus. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
Floyd Cardoz died March 25 of the coronavirus. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Colicchio has turned some of that frustration into action. He’s one of more than a dozen chefs who teamed up to create the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a movement to save the local restaurants across the country affected by COVID-19.

The celebrity chef behind Craft eateries said IRC is also looking at how to transform restaurants into community feeding centers.

“We know how to feed people,” he explained.

Colicchio added that he, for one, would make it optional for employees to come in for these communal meals.

Colicchio encouraged everyone who can help to provide fresh food to others during the coronavirus crisis by donating to City Harvest, an organization working to end hunger in New York City.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.

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