Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz dies at 44

Television celebrity chef and restaurateur Carl Ruiz has died. He was 44.

Ruiz’s New York City restaurant, La Cubana, confirmed his death in an Instagram post on Sunday. The cause of death was not immediately clear.

“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,” the post began.

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“No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother. 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,” the post continued. “His fierce intellect and infectious humour knew no bounds.”

“He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked — with ‘dancing always’ as the most important ingredient,” the post said.

“Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl’s legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on. We hope we make you proud, Carlito.”

La Cubana announced they will honour his memory by continuing Ruiz’s “work in establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs.”

“We love you! You are already missed. Rest easy,” the Instagram post concluded.

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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. 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. He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked—with “dancing always” as the most important ingredient. Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl's legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on. We hope we make you proud, Carlito. . To honor the work you loved so much Chef, La Cubana will continue your work in establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs. . We love you! You are already missed. Rest easy 🙏🏽

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An Institute of Culinary Education graduate, Ruiz made frequent appearances on The Food Network channel as a competitive chef and judge. He also opened a slew of restaurants around the world.

La Cubana, his most recent restaurant, opened in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood in June and features the cuisine of his Cuban heritage.

Many fellow celebrity chefs offered their condolences on social media once news of his passing spread.

Internet personality Matt Farah posted a tribute to his friend on Instagram.

“The idea I can’t bounce a watch purchase, a recipe, or a funny tweet off him ever again hasn’t really set in, but let’s just say life feels a lot more gray today,” Farah wrote. “He was too prophetic for his own good — Carl was never going to grow old and invalid, he was full throttle every day and no one was gonna tell him otherwise. I just wish I had some more time to laugh with my friend.”

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I was waiting to respect the privacy of his family and close friends, but since I’m starting to get messages, I guess it’s out, and sadly true. We lost Carl @saborchef last night; he passed peacefully in his sleep at just 44 years old. I’m absolutely gutted. Though I only knew Carl for 2 short years, he was my consigliere, my sounding board, my “am I crazy?” Test, and a ride or die friend. Carl was down for anything, at any time. Every single time we hung out, three things happened: Carl taught me something unbelievably interesting, Carl introduced me to someone very interesting, and Carl made me laugh my fucking face off. At our wedding, he was basically a character from Wedding Crashers, but invited. He was a goddamn rock star. He was on my porch when the Countach came across my phone. He said “if you don’t buy that fucking car im going to throw you off this roof” The idea I can’t bounce a watch purchase, a recipe, or a funny tweet off him ever again hasn’t really set in, but let’s just say life feels a lot more gray today. He was too prophetic for his own good – Carl was never going to grow old and invalid, he was full throttle every day and no one was gonna tell him otherwise. I just wish I had some more time to laugh with my friend. “Every gambler knows, the secret to surviving, is knowin what to throw away; knowin what to keep. Cuz every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser, and the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

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Guy Fieri said he was “heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone.”

“I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef,” Fieri wrote.

“Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ’The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him,” his Instagram post concluded.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli wrote: “My life will be lonelier without him. Love you Carl. I will make sure no one puts pineapple on pizza as best I can without your support. Rest In Peace.”

 

Chef Jet Tila wrote: “You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon.”

Food critic Troy Johnson said that Ruiz “made people laugh who’d forgotten how to laugh. He set rooms on fire. He was the match and the kerosene.”

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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