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
To broaden his familiarity with classic culinary technique, Floyd moved
to Switzerland. His days were spent at Les Roches, a Hotel Management
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