Interview with Top Chef

If you’re a Top Chef follower, like we are, you’ll know who Floyd Cardoz is! He won the Top Chef Masters competition in 2012. Since then he’s been on fire and opened up North End Grill to much acclaim. We sat down with the Top Chef and asked him some questions. Here’s what he had to say:
1) Our readers love to know what it’s like to be a chef, can you describe your typical day?

I love being a chef and would not do anything else in my life. A typical day for me starts at home as soon as I wake up with catching up with emails from the closing management team at the restaurant. The next thing I do is check on the previous days’ sales and details (eg number of dishes, number of covers). I then call the kitchen and speak to my Souschef and make sure the day is going as planned.
I look forward to reading a hard copy of the WSJ and NY Times every morning. I have a triple cappuccino and am set for the day.
I get into the restaurant anywhere between 10 & 11am and I am there until sometime between 9 & 11pm each day. I walk thru all products that we have received during the day and connect with farmers discussing what’s coming up. I try and connect with every employee, and my entire management team. I also try to respond to the 100’s of emails I get during the day.
During service I float around the kitchen working with different cooks, plate, taste and cook specials for guests. In between, I respond to Facebook queries, tweets and press requests. I love talking to guests who have eaten at my restaurant or seen me on Top Chef Masters. I try to make our guest welcome as I want them to want to come back to North End Grill.
I eat a snack at 4:30 pm and get ready for dinner service. On my drive home I listen to sports talk radio or a game which helps me decompress from my day. I enjoy Single Malts so I fit in a drink and have dinner at home. The hardest part of my day is that I am physically on my feet for 8-10 hours each day.
2) If you had to describe North End Grill in 3 words, what would you say

Surprising, fresh & elegant
3) What is your favorite dish on the menu at North End Grill?

This is the hardest question for me to answer. Every dish on my menu is something I have created. I would not put it on the menu if I did not love it. That being said every day I have a different dish that is a bit closer to me. But I do love cooking with fish so fish dishes tend to be closer to my heart.
4) We can’t chat with you without asking about Top Chef Masters. At the very first quickfire, did you think you were going to win it all?
Never once did I pick myself to win TCM. I went in with an open mind. Everybody goes into a competition hoping to win and if I said I did not, I would be lying. I knew I was as good a cook as anyone on the show. I knew I cooked with passion and with love and if I continued to do that I would win. I was not going to change who I was just to win. I was going to be true to myself and my beliefs. One thing I realized after the first quickfire was that this competition was no walk in the park!
5) Are there any funny stories from your time on Top Chef that didn’t make the final edit of the show?
After every episode and before judging we had to sit around and wait while the judges made their decision. So we drank – Tequila, scotch and beer. We did get pretty rowdy often.
One thing that was cut was when the two Brits from “Man Women Wild” judged us. Ruth said “You would be surprised at what he makes me put in my mouth.” We were all stunned and hoped it would survive to be shown on TV.
6) What dish are you most proud of that you made on TCM?
The upma stands out as I took something very pedestrian and elevated it.
I loved the shortribs I made on episode one as I did not have the time to cook them but was able to pull it off. The Beef Randang I made on the last episode was also a favorite as I made a dish from an interpretation from one of the judges. I cooked it with passion and love and it had a very emotional effect on James Oslen. It fulfilled my philosophy of good cooking.
7) What one ingredient can you not cook without?

I love ginger and use it in almost everything I cook. It adds complexity and depth to most dishes.
8) Is there one ingredient that you personally detest?

I hate bananas; I can’t stand them. They make me want to throw up.
9) How do you spend the little spare time you have?

I enjoy cooking, baseball and football (watching that is). I also love to garden and my passion is vegetable gardening. I love to travel. I enjoy the process of seeing peoples’ cultures and enjoying their food. I also try and get in some fishing time as when I’m close to the water, it reminds me of my time growing up in Bombay.
10) Any advice for aspiring chefs out there?

My philosophy in life is good food and cooking is not only how good the food tastes and looks, but also how good it makes you feel cooking it and how good the guest feels eating it. Always cook with passion and with love.