Watch Stories | Chef Carl Ruiz, Food Network and La Cubana


I love being flashy. I’m Cuban. You like
white Ferraris. Who likes white Ferraris?! I always dress like
I’m coming out of the kitchen. When you’re wearing whites there’s very few
things that will separate you from everybody else. A watch is very simple.
You know, like in cooking, French they wear toques, and depending on the height of the toque is your position in the kitchen. So the
chef always has the highest toque so that
when you walk into a kitchen you know who the boss is. Well these days the guy
with the AP, that’s the boss. My name is Carl Ruiz. I’m a chef in New York City. We
are in my new restaurant that’s being built. I grew up in New Jersey. Came to
New York my whole life. Loved New York. I love the restaurants in New York. I
remember when I opened my first restaurant in New York. I was in my 20s. I
opened restaurants in Canada, I opened one in Switzerland, opened one in Miami,
opened, you know, all over the country, California. So then I got my chops. I knew,
I knew how to open restaurants. People knew I was a pitbull. I even opened a
restaurant in Times Square, which is unbelievable. The scale of things: three
kitchens, 200 employees. It’s unbelievably painful to do that. What got me into to food was: The punishment in my house, when I was a kid, was you have to go cook with your
Mother. So since I was in trouble every day, I ended up cooking almost every
night. I live with my Mother and my Grandmother, and cooking for a whole, you
know, a giant Latin family was incredible. So I was like in service at 10 years old.
I was making empanadas, and frying bananas, and making tamales. I was
doing some serious work. I knew, I started working at a restaurant. I was in high
school, and when I was making more money than my guidance counselor I said, “You
know what, I’m gonna stick with this.” I got better at it, and I made a career of
it. About 12 years ago I met Food Network Star, Guy Fieri.
He says, “You’re pretty much insane. You should be on TV.” Says, “You won’t last long, because they’ll think you’re crazy.” And here I am 10 years later. So it’s fun. You
know food TV is great. I love being on TV and cooking because you can’t taste it.
So, no matter what I make, if I say it’s good you’re gonna have to agree with me. But a
kitchen, it’s been my whole life. I started with watches a long time ago, but
for me it was a recommendation from someone, you know.
Someone that I knew said to me, “Carl listen. You should have a nice watch
because you never know when you’re gonna need money.
You never know you’re gonna kicked out of your apartment or anything, and on
your wrist you should always have enough money to buy a mattress, a TV, and a
security deposit for an apartment.” As a chef, you know, it’s like being
immortal. We outlive every restaurant. So we’re starting new every five years. You
know, you get fired, or the restaurant blows up, or they put scaffolding and it
goes out of business, or you know, there’s always a problem. We’re always starting
over. So me falling in love with watches, it was completely on a pragmatic level.
That’s how it started. When you go back on the line.
That’s living right there. So this is my favorite watch.
It’s a Seiko turtle. It’s the reissue, and I love Seiko cuz it’s a vertically
integrated company. They make everything. It’s got a Strapecode Jubilee bracelet
on it. I mean from 30 feet it looks like an old Rolex, which is great, and most
people think that is, and I don’t change their mind either. It’s like, “Nice vintage Rolex!” I’m like, “You got it!” But it’s got a day. It’s got a date. The bezel works. It works every day.
It chugs like a tractor, and it doesn’t keep perfect time, but neither do I, so.
It’s late. I’m late. We’re both late. You know, we kind of get
each other. I absolutely love it. It’s just beautiful. This is the ceramic
Daytona. I love it, but I have no idea what time it is, ever on it. Chrono’s hard to
use. You have to unscrew it. It’s very, it’s just archaic. Their whole design, but,
you know, all watches that I’ve owned, and own are used. I like buying watches
little nick, or a little love, or we call little English on them. It just, it just,
it makes it hurt less. “Oh I know it’s 10 grand, but it’s used. You know it’s really
30 grand?!” That’s really not. You’re really still
being crazy, but it softens the hit. It softens the pain when you get home and you’re like, “Wow I can’t drink a Snapple today because I bought a Rolex.” And then
people love this one this is super “show-offy”. This makes people angry. When you have it. “Oh you got it?! With the white face?! Oh come on!” This is an AP Scuba Royal Oak limited
edition. It’s got the blue ring in it It’s unbelievable.
Compressor case. I love it. This is a big dog. This is the Lamborghini Countach of
watches, right? You wear this in places where people only care about what they
look like on the outside. The bracelets cost more than some watches.
Especially in stainless steel. If you want to get something like this in gold then
you’re on a whole nother level. You’re probably, you probably kidnap people. I
don’t even know what you do. When you first get into watches, you know, this is
probably your grail. You don’t know about this yet, and then this happens, and then
it’s all over. Your whole life is gonna be chasing these things, and looking at
people’s wrists, like a real weirdo at parties. You know, people talk, they’re moving a
wine glass around, and I’m looking, trying to figure out what model number it is. But
they’re beautiful, and that’s it. I mean this is just,
you know, small pictures of stuff that I like, and it’ll all probably be for sale soon,
because I make a lot of mistakes in the restaurant business. I’ve had so much fun
keeping watches light-hearted, and not taking them too serious, and not taking
myself too seriously. A lot of people make believe they’re not showing off
when they buy a watch. So they buy an obscure watch. You’re actually showing
off to the other obscure people. It’s still showing off. There’s no practical
reason for you to have a $20,000 watch or even a $500 one. There’s no practical
reason, your phone does it. And if you don’t have a phone you’re probably watching this. It’s okay to be flashy. I think people
that take the watches, and their size and the movements so seriously they’re missing
out. That these things are a thing of beauty, and they’re trophies. That’s why
you wear them on the outside. If they weren’t meant to be shown off we’d still
be wearing pocket watches. Which don’t get me started. I hate those things. Yeah so
depending on who I’m gonna meet, and who I’m going to talk to is depending on the
watch that I wear. So this is the only way that we quietly communicate with the
rest of society like, “Hey I’ve achieved something. Hey, you know, I’m doing okay
guys. You know, or hey listen I know about something.” You know and it’s okay

66 thoughts on “Watch Stories | Chef Carl Ruiz, Food Network and La Cubana

  1. Mad respect for waring a Seiko PADI on, felicidades por el nuevo restaurante que abrirás en el cielo. RIP

  2. Carl Luis is the most fun watch guy I have ever seen/heard. I’m so sad he’s gone. I watched he two videos with him on Watchandlisten podcast… the best. The most fun. The most honest. You will be missed, Carl.

  3. Its just crushing news i loved him, he brought to light the short hand syndrome of some watches and that you should wear a watch that you can turn into a deposit on an apartment and a mattress in an emergency. I will miss his wise words he was taken too early

  4. I have been waiting on this one.  I remember him and Matt talking about him filming this. Thank you for releasing.  He was truly one of a kind.

  5. Man every time you hear Carl speak you catch yourself with the biggest grin across your face. Without even realizing it you've been smiling for the past 10 minutes. This guy was one in a million.

  6. "You should have a nice watch, cause you'll never know when you're gonna need money." Not a very smart financial advice from his friend, but that's what got him into watches, so I guess props to that guy.

  7. Totally shocked , Rest In Peace and my condolences to his family . Thoroughly enjoyed him talking watches , food and his analogies on life

  8. Awesome video, this guy is great ! Super cool collection but still loves his turtle and knows its on a strapcode bracelet, so he knows what's up in the watch world….SO SORRY, didn't realize he passed. RIP to what seems to have been an amazing person..

  9. Can't believe he is gone. I just 4 days ago was on his Instagram telling him to go back on Watch & Listen Podcast. I was listening to him on that Podcast last week and loved it. And then this. He is or was Two Years Younger Than Me.

  10. I first listened to him on the watch and listen podcast and he had the best episode. Him buying his first Rolex seadweller was such a cool story. Even his youtube channel which had fast food reviews was hilarious. Following him on instagram, I got to see what posts he would like and he had some great taste in Seiko watches (Seiko Landmaster!) and his instagram stories were always ballin'. He even went as far to leave some nice feedback about my Seiko watch in a comment once. Carl has a great spirit and even though I didn't know him personally I was taken back by his passing. Pinkies up. #ruizing

  11. Holy shit, the ending just killed me. He had me cracking up with his jokes, what a funny and lively guy, I thought. I thought maybe it would be cool to meet him one day but damn, I can't even. That's sad man. May he RIP. <3

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