Food lovers from across the country have bid a sad farewell to celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio, who passed away on 8 November 2017.
The 80-year-old Italian, who was born in a rural village in Salerno, was probably best known for pioneering his self-named restaurant chain Carluccios. With the brand having 96 outlets in the UK, the iconic blue and white sign can be seen on high streets up and down the country. His restaurants promoted his no-fuss approach to cooking, combining fresh produce with simple, traditional home recipes to create authentic Italian food. This simple yet hugely successful approach landed him many accolades, with experts suggesting that he changed the face of Italian cooking and dining in Britain. His trademark phrase was ‘mof mof’ – minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour.
Alongside his success in the restaurant field, Carluccio wrote more than 20 cookery books dedicated to his personal brand of Italian cooking. He also starred in several TV series, the most recent of which was Two Greedy Italians with fellow Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo. In 2007 he was awarded an OBE; he also holds an AA Hospitality Lifetime Achi
Despite his success, the chef’s life was not without troubles or controversy. In 2008 he spent some time in The Priory following an incident of suspected self-harm. He was open about suffering from depression, particularly after losing his restaurant chain at one point and splitting from his wife (Priscilla Conran – aunt of Jasper Conran), who he had been married to for 28 years.
Despite the problems in his life, it is undeniable that Carluccio made a long-lasting legacy that focuses on the importance of genuine, Italian produce used in Italian cooking. His signature restaurants use visual aids, such as a serve over deli counter from a stockist such as www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/ and windows laden with artisan food produce to lure in passers-by. These reflect his authentic roots and passion for true Italian cooking – no wonder he earned the title ‘Godfather of Italian cuisine.’
The loss of Antonio Carluccio is a sad one to many food lovers, but none more than his family and friends. A pioneer of simplistic, rustic yet delicious cooking, his skills and legacy will live on.