Food Chatter: Q&A with Floyd Cardoz of North End Grill

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Last week, Atlanta’s Share Our Strength celebrated the twenty-fourth anniversary of their Taste of the Nation event. Fifty local top chefs donated their time and talents to help raise funds to end childhood hunger. This year they were joined by superstar chef Floyd Cardoz, who flew in from New York to assist in making the evening a truly stellar affair. Cardoz is executive chef of North End Grill, the latest restaurant from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Cardoz is best known for his groundbreaking modern Indian cuisine restaurant, Tabla, however, he has an equally strong commitment to social responsibility.

In 2007, Cardoz received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from Share Our Strength and in 2011, he designated his $100,000 grand prize from winning the Top Chef Masters to the Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Prior to the Taste of the Nation event, the dynamic Bombay native chatted with me about his desire to give back, how he became involved in Share Our Strength, and why he chose to participate in Atlanta’s benefit.

Q: Where did your sense of social responsibility come from?
FC: My father. He instilled a strong sense of social responsibility in our family with his deeds around Bombay. I remember one Christmas when I was a very young boy, he brought some homeless children into our home and served them dinner before our family had eaten. Over the years I also realized that giving is much better than receiving.

Q: When did you first become involved with Share Our Strength?
FC: In 1997, just after I had opened Tabla. I was asked to participate in Taste of the Nation NY. I didn’t know anything about the cause. After working with them over the years I did some research and I have been involved ever since after seeing what they did. I also realized the issues we have with childhood hunger in the United States.

Q: What motivated you to participate in the Atlanta event?
FC: Atlanta is a great food city and I was honored to work with some of the great chefs here. I also heard that the Taste of The Nation in Atlanta was one of the best in the country and raised the most money.

Q: Is this your first visit to Atlanta and where have you eaten here?
FC: This is my third visit. I first came here in 1987 and I was here last year at a cooking demo in Alpharetta. I have eaten at Empire State South and Southern Art. I had the best Tandoori chicken I have ever had at Zaika in Decatur.

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