Think Italian food and a lot of people in England instantly think of Antonio Carluccio. Through his namesake chain of delis and restaurants and various cookbooks and TV shows Antonio is England’s granddaddy of Italian food. I was lucky enough to be able to have a quick chat with him about a few of Gourmet Chick’s favourite things, travel and food.
Do you have any travel tips for Italy?
I have been more than 50 years in England so I know Italy from those 20 years before. I know Italy from the culinary aspect and from the social as well as I have family there. Italy is beautiful everywhere you go. My mother used to say: “When God created Italy he looked down from above and said ‘This is beautiful I have to balance it’ and he created the Italians.” The 20 regions are all together now but they are very different it is very interesting it is a kaleidoscope of colour and locations.
What are your tips for Italian cooking?
Extremely simple using the best ingredients. I call it mof mof cuisine because it is a minimum of fuss and a maximum of flavour. Italian food is very down to earth and it is loveable there are dishes that are called “ugly but good”. The entire power has been put into the taste.
What restaurants do you recommend in London?
I would say try not to do tarted up food just do it very simply. Do experimental cuisine if you want but do not push it on the public. What is going on now gets a bit on my nerves because none of it is possible to reproduce at home. I like Chinese food and I go often to the New World in Soho. I like also eat Indian food but not too much. I prefer Indian in India. I go to La Famiglia because they are old friends of 30 years and they serve Tuscan food which is quite interesting.
You have just brought out an Antonio Carluccio ipad app. Do you use an ipad?
I have started to use myself an ipad as my assistant says I should as I have only a little telephone. My ipad app has 25 recipes filmed and explained.
What do you think of blogs?
The blog is a lovely thing if you are looking for inspiration. The technology of today is quite inspiring.
What are some final tips for readers of Gourmet Chick?
Keep it simple and be honest. Honesty in food is one of the most sought after philosophies. One should not have to pay over the odds but it has to be perfect.
Antonio Carluccio is talking more about travel and food and doing cooking demonstrations at the Destinations Show in London which runs from 3-6 February 2011.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my interview with Lulu Gwynne, the owner of Betty Blythe.