Upma dish wins Indian-American chef $100,000 top prize

Washington, June 17: Indian-American chef Floyd Cardoz, the man behind New York’s now-closed Danny Meyer Indian restaurant Tabla, has taken home the $100,000 top prize in the third season of Top Chef Masters with a simple upma dish.

Mumbai-born Cardoz, who beat out California luminaries Traci Des Jardins and Mary Sue Milliken for first place, is donating his winnings to the Young Scientists Cancer Research Fund at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in memory of his father, who died of cancer.

Cardoz divided the judges with his inclusion of the popular Indian breakfast dish Upma in his meal, but ‘in the end, (he) impressed because of the spice and passion that infused his final meal of the season,’ said The Wall Street Journal.

‘The three-course feast also featured a rice-crusted snapper in a fennel-laced broth and a reinterpreted version of a Malaysian beef stew. Our guess is that Cardoz won by doing exactly what he does at Tabla-that is, honouring his Indian gastronomic roots and finding a way to reinvent his native cuisine at the same time,’ it said.

By winning, Cardoz joins the ranks of better-known chefs Rick Bayless, of Frontera Grill in Chicago, and Marcus Samuelsson, of Red Rooster and formerly Aquavit, both in New York, who won second and third season respectively, the Huffington Post reported

Next, Cardoz will head another Danny Meyer production, North End American Grill in Battery Park City, New York, it said.

The restaurant, which is calling its cuisine ‘roof-to-table,’ marks a departure for the chef, who focused on high-end Indian cuisine throughout his tenure at Tabla, the Post said

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

IANS