The culinary world is mourning a tragic loss. Cuban chef Carl Ruiz died suddenly on Saturday, September 21. He was 44.
Ruiz, who made frequent appearances on the Food Network as a competitive chef and celebrity judge, was fondly remembered by several famous chefs and culinary figures, including Guy Fieri, Rocco DiSpirito and more.
The celebrated cook was also a global restaurateur with eateries around the world. His latest restaurant, La Cubana, at which he served as the executive chef and owner, opened in New York City in June. The restaurant confirmed Ruiz’s passing in a touching Instagram post.
“On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved executive chef Carl Ruiz. No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother,” the post began. “Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds.”
The post went on to refer to Ruiz as a “mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine” who lived life to the fullest and danced while he cooked. The restaurant also noted that it intends to honor Ruiz’s legacy by establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs.
“We love you! You are already missed,” the post concluded. “Rest easy.”
Though Ruiz’s cause of death has yet to be confirmed, his friend, Matt Farah, said the beloved chef died “peacefully in his sleep.” TMZ is reporting that Ruiz died of an apparent heart attack while he was asleep.
Scroll down to see more moving tributes to Ruiz.