Paolo Tullio, the distinguished Irish food critic and chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant Armstrong’s Barn, died on June 5 at the age of 65.
Tullio, described by Seán Moncrieff
, his friend and Newstalk Radio host
, as an “eternal optimist” and a polymath with an interest “in just about everything,” had a career that included stints as a clinical psychologist in a hospital, a cattle dealer, and a voiceover actor.
When Tullio’s restaurant, Armstrong’s Barn in Annamoe, County Wicklow, closed in 1988, he converted the space into a recording studio, and later, his own home. Tullio would eventually sell the property and build a smaller home close by.
In the latter half of his career, Tullio wrote a number of culinary books, including Mushroom Man and North of Naples, South of Rome.
Until his death, Tullio was the longtime restaurant critic and wine correspondent for the Irish Independent
and the resident critic of RTE’s The Restaurant
, a reality series in which the identity of the “chef” whose dishes are presented remains a mystery until after the meal.
Tullio's fellow Irish television food personality, author and restaurateur Clodagh McKenna, told The Daily Meal that “Paulo Tullio was one of the kindest and most gentlemanly people in the food industry who I had the pleasure of knowing... His depth of understanding food and what it brought to our lives was ingrained in his very being. His special spirit will be missed by all who knew him.”
Ross Lewis, chef and co-owner of Dublin's Michelin-starred Chapter One, remembers Tullio as a "true gourmand [who] had the appreciation of food and life oozing out of his every pore. He was a generous man, a gentle man, an inquisitive and well-informed man and a man that we shall miss greatly from our big food family."