The food world was stunned Wednesday morning to learn of the passing of influential chef Floyd Cardoz from an apparent infection and complications related to COVID-19. As first reported on the Indian news website, Cardoz’s family has confirmed his passing after testing positive for the virus upon his return from a trip to Mumbai via Frankfurt airport. He was 59 years old.

Cardoz returned from India on March 8 and admitted himself to a New York City hospital on March 18 after developing a fever, according to his own Instagram post. (That post was deleted and replaced by this one.) The Indian restaurant group, Hunger Inc., from which he ran his Mumbai restaurants had also confirmed Cardoz had tested positive for COVID-19 in a statement they released.

Tributes online are already pouring in for the Indian-born chef who first made waves in New York with his wildly popular Tabla. The opening of Tabla—along with fellow restaurateur Danny Meyer—was captured in the 2010 documentary, “The Restaurateur.” Since Tabla’s closing, Cardoz had gone on to open several other restaurants in both New York and Mumbai including The Bombay Canteen and O’Pedro. The chef had become a prominent leader and advocate for elevating South Asian cuisine.

Cardoz had previously received the James Beard Award for “Humanitarian of the Year” in honor of his continued commitment to community engagement. In 2011, he was named among the “Top 50 Most Influential Global Indians” by GQ Magazine.

He is survived by his wife Barkha, and their two sons, Peter and Justin.

Header image courtesy of CBS News.

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