Antonio Carluccio passes away

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Sadly, the world says farewell to one of the champions of the food world, Antonio Carluccio, who passed away yesterday, Wednesday 8th November, aged 80.

Known as `the godfather of Italian gastronomy`, this huge character has left a huge legacy. In his lifetime he catered for a host of people, including Prince Charles, Sir Elton John and Mick Jagger, and was Jamie Oliver’s first boss.

I was lucky enough to meet this delightful man a couple of years ago in Australia, and even though he was 78 at the time, he took to the stage like a man two decades younger. He was incredibly passionate about Italian food, and was renowned for his larger-than-life character – Jamie Oliver fondly recalls him sitting outside his restaurant, always with a glass of something fabulous in his hand, and often with a large cigar in his mouth.

His motto was ″mof mof″ – minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour – and his dedication to showing everyone that they can eat good food was contagious. He was appalled to discover how popular Spaghetti Bolognese was in England when he arrived in 1975. “You eat an awful lot of wrong pasta. An example would be spaghetti bolognese, which doesn’t exist in Italy. You wouldn’t have bolognese, or a meat sauce, with spaghetti, it would be with tagliatelle.”

He once told a story of a man who wrote to him asking how he could eat well as he was on his own. ″And they can! No matter the budget!” he responded. “Even, say, baked beans, fried in a little oil, with some salt, garlic and chilli, can transform an ordinary meal into something special and can provide you with a sense of purpose, achievement. Hey, I should know.”

Antonio leaves a huge legacy of cookbooks, a chain of eateries in the UK, a very long list of chefs who were inspired by him – and in me personally, a reminder that if you have passion, you can achieve anything. Rest in peace, Antonio Carluccio.


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