|Chef Floyd Cardoz and one of his dishes .|
Homage to Chef Floyd Cardoz whose passing stunned the Culinary World
As many of you know, the Culinary Arts lost one of its own this week. The Coronavirus took the life of Floyd Cardoz. New York lost a man who had pioneered fine Indian dining here. He was the first Indian-born chef to helm the kitchen of the very influential restaurant he and Danny Meyer opened called Tabla. Actually, he had influenced the output at L’Espinasse Gray Kunz’ restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel. There he had risen from line cook to Executive Sous Chef. Sadly, Gray Kunz died earlier this year at age 65. Floyd Cardoz was just 59 years of age.
If ever there was a time for comfort food, this is it.
Times like these, I look for comfort food that will warm the body and bring a sense of well-being with it. My thoughts turned to Indian food recently with its rich spices all of which bring a lively heat to their dishes. India ranks the 8 hottest countries in the world, beaten out by much of the Arabian peninsula and North Africa. (Libya comes in at #1.) But what is also true is that eating spicy foods raises your internal temperature. Your blood circulation increases, you may start actually sweating. The effect of this in summer is that sweat, which usually starts on your face, evaporates and in doing so, cools you down. In winter, the idea of raising one’s internal temperature certainly has its appeal. And even though Spring is fast approaching, I return to this recipe from Chef Floyd Cardoz. I served his Indian-Spiced Tomato and Egg Casserole at brunch but it would make a wonderful “Breakfast for Dinner”. It’s meatless, gluten-free, vegetarian and stunningly warming and delicious.
|Chef Cardoz and his wife
at the New York Opening
of “100 Foot Journey”
You may not know his name but you may have seen his movie.
Floyd Cardoz may not have been a household name but you may be familiar with his work if not his name. He was, for instance, the authority hired by the producer of “The 100 Foot Journey”, 2014’s feel-good food movie. Floyd was brought in because of his ability to fuse together two cultures through cooking which was what the movie was all about. He was uniquely qualified for his role. Born in Bombay, he apprenticed at the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel. From there he went on to Hotel School in Switzerland learning French and Italian cooking, getting his diploma before heading back to India. From there he moved to New York and it was here that he truly made his name at Tabla. There he introduced New Indian cuisine marrying flavors and spices of his native country with Western Techniques. He garnered 3 stars from The New York Times and accolades from just about everyone in the 12-year history of the restaurant.
|The Food Movie of 2014.|
Bring back the casserole…it’s just right for right now.
Today’s dish came from a 2014 New York Times article by Melissa Clark on casseroles. Let’s face it, Casseroles, that staple of the fifties haven’t made waves for some time. As food tastes have become more sophisticated these remnants of the Campbell’s Cream Soups School of Cooking have lost favor, the victim of their blandness and use of processed food …like Campbell’s Cream Soups. But put thoughts of those aside as you dip into Chef Cardoz’ tomato sauce spiked with ginger, fresh green chilies and Indian spices poured over tiny potatoes, baked for a time and then topped with eggs and baked again. The result is that the yolk runs all over each tomato laden bite. Chef Cardoz’ inspiration was the cooking of an ancient Zoroastrian Persian Parsis who settled in India between the 8th and 10th centuries. Whatever the inspiration, this dish should not be missed. Serve it for brunch, as I did, along with a whole-grain toast. Or make it the centerpiece of a meatless meal. Use your food processor to prepare the green peppers, pulsing until they are finely chopped. You’ll see that the recipe calls for 6 eggs and a 9×9 inch casserole. I used an Emile Henri ceramic pie dish, used only 4 eggs and likely didn’t need to make half the potatoes called for. It was magnificent. In memory of this marvelous and inventive chef, here is the recipe: