'Floyd Cardoz leaves behind a mindset'

Updated: 26 March, 2020 07:38 IST | Phorum Dalal | Mumbai

Chefs remember maverick who put Indian cuisine on the world map

Remembering his initial days, Chef Vineet Bhatia said he first met Floyd Cardoz in the kitchen of Oberoi, where he had joined as an intern. "Cardoz was demi-chef de partie, and he made me peel 40 kg of onions. He was always the one to lead by example and jumped in to help everyone," said Bhatia. "He once fed me matar keema he had made for an order. He was not the one who would trouble you because you are a newbie. He always had a sparkle in his eyes, and a hunger to explore more. 'I need to get out of here,' he would tell us. And he did. We learnt he had moved to New York. I lost touch with him then, but we were on a similar path. What he was doing for Indian food in America, I was doing in London -- to reimagine the concept of traditional $5 buffet," Bhatia added.

Cardoz leaves behind a legacy, taking a modern and progressive take on Indian cuisine. "He leaves behind not a dish, but an entire mindset, to remember him by. We were both traditionally trained but we wanted to do things differently. He was a maverick, a pioneer in his approach to cooking. He found inspiration in his Goan roots and the family dishes, and he leaves behind a cue for all of us."

Celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani fondly remembers Cardoz and their conversations about food. "We have a common friend [Denzil Smith], and I knew Cardoz for many years. I have even been to Tabla in New York and later Bombay Bread Bar [which was later named Paowalla]. We met often when he opened restaurants in Mumbai."

"He introduced 'seafood bhel' on The Bombay Canteen menu, and it was a bold move. He had shared his thoughts about the dish and we even discussed how each piece of fish in the mix had to be perfect. The dish hit the spot," Ratnani recalls.

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First Published: 26 March, 2020 07:20 IST

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