Antonio, who had a bright personality and was well-liked character famous for his cooking books and appearances on TV, had a very successful career, having catered for the likes of Prince Charles and Mick Jagger.
He had 22 books to his name and starred in TV shows like Italian Fest and Two Greedy Italians which played on BBC2, together with Chef Gennaro Contaldo.
He had 5 siblings and was raised in Italy’s north-west region. For a short time he worked as a journalist in Turin after which he moved to Vienna and then Germany, ultimately ending up in London and working as a wine merchant before seriously going into the restaurant business.
The first restaurant he opened was in the UK in 1981, which was located on Neal Street in London’s Covent Garden, at that time he was named the runner-up Sunday Times Cook of the Year. The restaurant had many good years which were patronized by the Prince of Wales and Sir Elton and even helped start off Jamie Oliver’s career, before closing in 2007.
Jamie released a statement in respect to Antonio and said that he received the news “with great sadness”. In an Instagram post Oliver said how Antonio was his 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.
He said how Carluccio was a very charismatic man and represented all things Italian. He would always hang out the front door of the restaurant while smoking a big fat cigar and glass of something magnificent in his other hand.
Oliver also said how Antonio was the reason he got hooked on pasta and that his love goes out to his partner Sabina, his family and his closest friends on this sorrowful day.
James Martin said how he belongs to the hall of fame of TV chefs.
He helped spread Italian food throughout the rest of the world and always showed his how passionate and committed he was both to the restaurant and the tv industry.
In 1991 he opened a delicatessen right next to his Neal Street restaurant and I 1998 he started the Carluccio’s Caffe line, which can now be seen on many high streets, it offers the best Italian dishes and lines.
When he first came to the UK in 1975 he thought that the situation was a bit depressing, the Italian dieshe were a bit stereotypical, which he liked to call Britalian food, for instance: chicken surprise was a very popular dish back then, you would open the chicken breast and butter would come out or avocado with aurora sauce which was just mayo and ketchup, but since then a lot of things have changed.
In 1998 he was made commendatore by the Italian government which in British terms is knighthood.
In 2008 he tried to kill himself, but didn’t succeed in doing so. After that he checked himself into the Priory, a psychiatric hospital located in west London. In some interviews later on he spoke about his depression and how it came after the closure of his Neal Street restaurant and the end of his 28-year marriage to Priscilla.
Minimum of fuss, maximum of flavor was his moto. He mentioned how he got a lot of letters from older men, widowers, asking if they can improve their life through cooking. Antonio said how they definitely can now matter the budget.
Carluccio’s restaurant issued a statement too: “We are incredibly saddened by the news that Antonio Carluccio, our founder, passed away on Wednesday. Antonio built Carluccio’s from one restaurant to the fantastic brand it is today. It isn’t just Antonio’s name above our doors, but his heart and soul lives and breathes throughout our restaurants.”
In the end, he was an OBE, OMRI and a respected Italian cooking writer, cook, food expert and TV character. It is indeed a sad day today, we are still looking into Antonio Carluccio’s cause of death.