'Godfather of Italian Cooking' Antonio Carluccio Has Died
Antonio Carluccio, the celebrity chef and restaurateur known as the “Godfather of Italian Cooking,” has passed away at 80 years old. The Italian chef is most known for his U.K.-based restaurant chain Carluccio’s — which has expanded to over 80 locations, including some in the Middle East, since its opening in 1999 — as well as for his 22 cookbooks and for his BBC shows Food and Drink Programme, Antonio Carluccio’s Italian Feasts, and Two Greedy Italians.
The London-based chef had originally moved to the U.K. to work as a wine merchant but soon found himself in the kitchen of Terence Conran — a noted design maven and the most influential London restaurateur of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, whose sister Carluccio ended up marrying — in his Neal Street Restaurant in London. Carluccio subsequently became the manager and, eventually, the owner of the restaurant.
During his time at Neal Street, he helped celebrity chef Jamie Oliver start his professional career. Oliver shared a photo and some touching words on his Instagram upon hearing the news of Carluccio’s passing.
“He was my first London Boss at the Neal Street restaurant 25 years ago which was an institution and Mecca of wild mushrooms where I had the pleasure of working for him,” Oliver wrote. “He was such a charismatic charming don of all things Italian!!”
The chef was given the honor of Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by the Italian government for his contributions to the Italian food industry, and an OBE from the Queen of England in 2007 for his services to the catering industry.