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Carl Ruiz (1975–2019), celebrity chef known for Food Network appearances

Facebook / Carl Ruiz

Ruiz was beloved for his big personality, and for his signature “ruizing” — the verb he invented to describe living life with joy and indulgence

Carl Ruiz was a celebrity chef and restaurateur who became well known for appearances on Food Network shows including “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Guy’s Grocery Games.” A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Ruiz opened his first restaurant to gain national attention alongside his then-wife, Marie Riccio, in 2013. Marie’s Italian Specialties in Chatham Township, New Jersey, was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” twice, beginning in 2013, and Fieri would go on to spotlight Ruiz on other Food Network shows as well. In 2019, Ruiz opened a new restaurant, La Cubana, in Manhattan. Ruiz was beloved for his big personality, and for his signature “ruizing” – the verb he invented to describe living life with joy and indulgence.

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Died: September 21, 2019 (Who else died on September 21?)

Details of death: Died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 44.


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Leaving a legacy of giving: Upon Ruiz’s death, La Cubana announced that it would pay tribute to its executive chef by continuing the work he had started in establishing the Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation. The foundation will help aspiring chefs as they pursue culinary school.

What people said about him: “I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone. I have to 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. 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.” —Guy Fieri

“Chef Carl Ruiz was an absolute legend, in every way that word can be applied. His food, his spirit, knowledge, insights, street smarts, humor and delivery were all legendary. The world is darker without him.” —Twitter user @TheSmokingTire

“Carl Ruiz was an inspiration; a talented chef with the most amazing intellect. His charm, wit and generosity were without peer. My thoughts go out to his family. Carl, I miss you.” —Chef Jonathan Waxman

Full obituary: CNN

Related lives:

  • Anthony Bourdain (1956–2018), celebrity chef, author, and TV host
  • Fatima Ali (1989–2019), star of Bravo’s “Top Chef”
  • Leah Chase (1923–2019), New Orleans chef perfected Creole cuisine