An unfinished culinary project by Floyd Cardoz — the celebrated restaurateur and chef who died in March due to complications from COVID-19 — is now being carried forward by his family and friends. That project, a line of spice blends with NYC shop Burlap and Barrel, launches on Sunday courtesy of a partnership between Burlap and Barrel co-founder Ethan Frisch and Cardoz’s wife, chef Barkha Cardoz.
The line of spice blends includes a fragrant garam masala, a more subtle Goan masala, and a heat-packed Kashmiri masala sold for $11.99 apiece or $33.99 for the set on Burlap and Barrel’s website. Profits from sales of the blends will be split in a revenue-share between Cardoz and Burlap and Barrel, with a portion of the proceeds going towards Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit that Floyd supported during his career.
Frisch — who used to work under Floyd as a line cook at Tabla, one of the chef’s renowned NYC spots — started the spice project with Floyd and Barkha between 12 to 18 months ago. After Floyd’s death, Barkha and Frisch together decided to keep going with the collaboration, and timed the launch to coincide with Floyd’s birthday, which is October 2.
“His big thing in life always was, ‘I want everyone to have some flavors and some spices, and something in their kitchen cabinet that speaks about Indian food, that speaks about flavor, that speaks about, you know, not to be afraid of using these ingredients,” Barkha says. “And I just felt that that’s the way we can honor him. That’s the way we can keep him alive. That’s the way we can take his legacy forward.”
The first three masalas were selected by Floyd as the lineup for the initial launch, with more blends to follow. Barkha and the Burlap and Barrel team ended up hand-blending all of the masalas currently for sale, although that wasn’t the original plan. The blending machine that they expected to use was delayed, and the team ended up mixing 270 pounds of each masala on their own.
Aside from the new spice line, the Cardoz family is still running restaurants as well. While Floyd no longer has an NYC restaurant presence after the closing of the critically-acclaimed Soho spot Bombay Bread Bar last year, his three restaurants in India — Bombay Sweet Shop, O Pedro, and the Bombay Canteen — are still in operation.
Barkha, Frisch, and food writer Jacqueline Raposo also recently launched floydcardoz.com, an online memorial to the chef that features a free archive of recipes, cooking videos, and a roundup of tributes to Cardoz’s influence on the food industry.
“I feel like this is part of my healing,” Barkha says of the initiatives she has launched. “It has literally helped me stand up with a purpose every morning and say, ‘I got this, Floyd, I got it.’”