ICA: Flay vs. Cardoz

September 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

IRON CHEF AMERICA: Flay vs. Cardoz
Premieres: Sunday, September 7th at 9PM
Chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla New York enters Kitchen Stadium to challenge Iron Chef Bobby Flay.  Tabla opened in 1998 in New York’s Flatiron District overlooking Madison Square Park and features what Chef Cardoz calls his New Indian cuisine.  At Table, diners can either enjoy the Indian infused New America dishes on the menu of the Dining Room or the Indian comfort food at the Bread Bar.  The restaurant has been featured in Forbers, Gourmet, and the New Yorker among others.

For a little background on Chef Cardoz here is his bio from the Tabla web site:

Floyd Cardoz is the Executive Chef of Tabla, a groundbreaking restaurant serving New Indian cuisine cooked with the sensual flavors and spices of his native land. Floyd opened Tabla in 1998 with famed restaurateur Danny Meyer and chef Michael Romano of Union Square Cafe. For years the Bombay native had searched for an original way to showcase the aromatic flavors of his homeland. Now, at the helm of Tabla, Floyd seasons Western cuisine with Indian spices and soul in the restaurant’s main dining room, and also cooks home-style Indian fare in the restaurant’s Bread Bar. Floyd’s preparation for Tabla has been extensive and intense. His determination to become an accomplished chef is perhaps best exemplified by the 1984 summer internship he did during culinary school in Bombay. The moment he entered the kitchen of the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel, he was handed a 100 kilo bag of onions to peel. Despite the daunting introduction to food service, Floyd remained a loyal apprentice to the famed hotel throughout school. Working six days a week from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. (at 150 rupees, or $3.00, a month), Floyd became adept in all areas of the kitchen.

To broaden his familiarity with classic culinary technique, Floyd moved to Switzerland. His days were spent at Les Roches, a Hotel Management and Culinary School in Bluche where he received his diploma in Hotel Restaurant Management and Administration. His evenings were continuously filled with cooking engagements in Italian, French and Indian establishments.

Ironically, it was his European training that instilled in Floyd a desire to begin experimenting with traditional Indian cuisines. The young visionary wanted to take European and American foods to new heights by enhancing these popular cuisines with Indian spices. Floyd returned to India, excited to unfold his plans, but found Indian restaurants resistant to many forward-thinking ideas. So Floyd moved to New York, where adventures in gastronomic matters were more celebrated.

After cooking for three years in America’s food hub, Floyd met a chef who shared his passion for infusing top-notch ingredients with exotic flavors. Gray Kunz, chef of New York’s venerable Lespinasse and the man Floyd credits as his mentor, welcomed the newcomer’s ideas. Kunz embraced the use of Indian spices in his own kitchen, where he had already pioneered a taste for Asian-influenced French foods. Floyd rose from Chef de Partie to Executive Sous Chef during his five years at the world-famous restaurant. “When I arrived at Lespinasse, there were only four Indian spices in the cabinet,” he recalls. “When I left, we had incorporated over twenty-five.”

As Floyd explains, mastering Indian flavors is no small feat. There are literally hundreds of derivatives of Indian cuisine, due to the many states, religions and cultures that make up the Indian sub-continent. At Tabla, Floyd has the opportunity to cook the many cuisines found in the various regions throughout India.

With Floyd at the helm, Tabla has received many accolades from the media including The New York Times – Three stars, Bon Appetit “Our Favorite Places: Asian,” Gourmet – “Personal Favorite” and Reader’s Choice, Best Newcomer (NY), Time Out New York – Best Indian (1999-2002), Forbes Magazine (Three stars), and New York Daily News – Four stars. In addition, Bon Appetit named Floyd as one of “The Innovators” in its 2003 Annual Restaurant Edition.

Floyd uses much of his free time exploring new dishes from his native country. But when he’s not experimenting, he can be found spending time with his wife, Barkha, and two sons, Peter and Justin.


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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."


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