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Cuban Cuisine Legend and NYC Chef, Carl Ruiz, Has Died

Legendary celebrity chef Carl Ruiz of New York’s La Cubana restaurant has passed away at the age of 44. At this time the cause of death is unknown. Ruiz was considered a larger than life figure who had a deep passion for connection through food, and was widely known for his regular appearances on the Food Network. He was beloved by the culinary community and he was seen as a trailblazer, always looking to expand the conversation about food.

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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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According to the La Cubana website:

“Paying tribute to his Cuban roots, Carl Ruiz’s latest restaurant venture, La Cubana, which opened June 2019 in NYC’s Meatpacking district, is a vibrant new dining destination where authentic Cuban cuisine, vintage cocktails, and live Latin music set the stage for a colorful, old-world Havana-inspired experience. In addition to serving dinner, La Cubana will also host a signature Cuban brunch each weekend.”

La Cubana, NY

Many of Carl’s peers have come forward in the wake of his tragic passing to offer their thoughts. Most notably, Guy Fieri:

In an interview for the NY Times, Carl’s brother George notes that the passion for cooking stemmed from their Cuban mother and grandmother, who were “culinary artists in their own way, even if they didn’t have a degree.” This passing down of tradition is a point of pride for many of us within the greater Latinx community.

It is what keeps our cultures alive. We are grateful to those who work hard to preserve these stories like modern day historians. Ruiz carried the torch for over 25 years, celebrating his Cuban roots and inspiring everyone, including Latinos to be proud of who they were.

Even though he is no longer with us, we hope that his spirit is still “dancing always.”

Rest in power, chef.


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