Here's What Carl Ruiz Would Have Thought About This Tribute, According To Justin Warner

There's a holiday for every type of person. Valentine's Day is for lovers, and Thanksgiving is for the grateful. Groundhog Day is for people who need to relive the same day over and over again, in order to learn some life lesson. Then there's April Fool's Day, for all the practical jokers out there. It's the perfect occasion to honor the memory of celebrity chef Carl Ruiz.

Ruiz rose to fame through his friendship with Guy Fieri. In 2012, Fieri filmed an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at Marie's Italian Specialties, the popular New Jersey deli run by Ruiz and his wife Marie Riccio (via Patch). Fieri and Ruiz hit it off so well, Ruiz would become a regular judge on Fieri's Guy's Grocery Games (via People). Ruiz had just opened the restaurant La Cubana in New York, featuring authentic Cuban cuisine, in 2019 when he died unexpectedly of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or hardening of the arteries (via TODAY).

Ruiz was outgoing and full of life, and his untimely death prompted a flood of tributes from other celebrity chefs. On Instagram, Eric Greenspan of GGG and Guy's Ranch Kitchen posted, "The world is significantly worse without you. Heaven doesn't know what just hit it."

Justin Warner thinks Carl Ruiz would not have approved of a Zoom tribute

Chef Carl Ruiz warmed people's hearts with his sense of humor and practical jokes. Guy's Grocery Games judge Troy Johnson shared a story on Twitter about how Ruiz decided to post something on social media about how "Troy sucks," in order to boost Johnson's follower count. "No one wants to hear how much I love you," Johnson recalled Ruiz saying. "That's how 'Troy sucks' was born."

When the first April Fool's Day rolled around after Ruiz's death, in 2020, Fieri and the rest of the GGG team thought it would be appropriate to honor the holiday with a tribute to Ruiz (via Guilty Eats). The episode featured shoplifting, shopping blindfolded, and way too much spice.

One year later, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into producing television shows, with a lot of on-screen interactions happening remotely. On March 31, Justin Warner, host of Guy Fieri's Tournament of Champions, posted an image of a Zoom meeting on Instagram. If the people on the tiny screens in the image were paying tribute to Ruiz, Warner figured Ruiz would not have approved. Playing off a tried-but-true pandemic cliché, Warner wrote in the caption, "Carl would have said 'this should have been an email.'"

Warner also promised a "special episode" celebrating Ruiz soon, although he didn't provide any details about when it will air. We'll keep our eyes peeled. We could use a good laugh right now, mixed with a good cry.