Paula Deen has found herself at the centre of some controversy after she made an insensitive comment about the death of celebrity chef Carl Ruiz. Ruiz, who was known for his work on Guy’s Grocery Games, passed suddenly at the age of 44. There has been no cause of death released, but his death was confirmed by La Cubana, the restaurant Ruiz opened in June.
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 🙏🏽
Many celebrity chefs shared their condolences and heartache upon hearing the news of Ruiz’s passing.
“I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,” wrote Guy Fieri. “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. 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.”
“You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon @carlruiz! I will always be #ruizing! You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend,” Jet Tila wrote. “Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives.”
“Can’t explain the profound specialness of some people,” Alex Guarnaschelli said on Instagram. “This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny and unique all rolled into one.”
“To say he was a great chef, would be putting it lightly. To say he was funny, would be putting it lightly and to say that he was a great friend would be putting it very lightly,” wrote Anthony Rodriguez, a director of photography for Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives in an emotional post. “I am devastated at the way too soon loss of my friend Carl. Carl, you lived life to the fullest, enjoyed every moment and were one of the truest and most loyal friends anyone could ever ask for. The friendship and loyalty and laughs he brought to me and all of the group of friends that knew him best, is just indescribable Carl you were definitely an original and lived the fullest and yet, way to short a life. Vaya con dios mi hermano, te amo ❤️ See you in the next life my friend.”
One chef that didn’t say kind words about Ruiz was Paula Deen, who decided to joke about the chef’s death just days after it happened. While appearing on The Big Jay Show, Deen was asked about Ruiz’s death and whether or not she knew him.
“No, I’m not [familiar with Ruiz],” Deen said. “But I’m so sorry to hear that. You know, they say the restaurant business will kill you. No pun intended.”
While Deen was laughing during her comment, many people found it insensitive to make that joke so soon after Ruiz’s passing.
“Is it just me or does #PaulaDeen prove YET AGAIN what a HORRIBLE PERSON SHE REALLY IS,” a person wrote. “Making fun of a deceased person is so LOW. Glad @FoodNetwork took out the TRASH years ago. Her family must be embarrassed. The late #CarlRuiz deserves better and so do his family and fans.”
“How sad to see Paula Deen once again speak without thinking about Chef Carl Ruiz’s untimely death,” another person tweeted. “Apparently, she didn’t learn her lesson after losing her empire after racial slurs several years ago. Is it insensitivity or just plain ignorance? I’m thinking of the latter.”
“Your insensative comments about chef Carl Ruiz are so embarrassing,” another person said. “Haven’t you learned anything at your old age? Your ignorant and not funny.. “
“When will you learn to shut your mouth?” someone asked. “Or else show some decency. Chef Carl Ruiz was truly loved by many and your tasteless (pun intended) comment shows a lack of class and heart.”
Deen has not responded to the comments, and it’s not likely that she will. Some are suggesting that this was just a harmless joke, but clearly not everyone thinks the same.