Gourmet Chick talks to Antonio Carluccio

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.

Photo supplied by Antonio Carluccio
Since Carluccio’s was sold what is your involvement with the chain of restaurants that still bears your name?
In 2005 Carluccio’s was floated and I sold my interest and I was happy, I was very happy. Then I started to be a consultant and I still am. I look after the food. I try to defend the original philosophy which was to have very good food in beautiful ambience cooked freshly for not a lot of money. I look for those elements and I still devise dishes for the menu.

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 favourite things to eat?

A great risotto with truffles or with mushrooms or a very simple pasta with tomato sauce and basil. It must have very good pasta, very good tomatoes and very good basil.

Who did you learn the most about food from?

I learnt quite a lot from my mother because all the family discussed about the food they are eating. As a child you profited from this sort of talk.

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.

POSTED BY: Cara ON January 27th, 2011
CATEGORY: Interview

21 Comments on “Gourmet Chick talks to Antonio Carluccio”

  1. Kavey said at 8:53 am on January 27th, 2011:

    A great read, really enjoyed it!

  2. Heavenly Housewife said at 8:59 am on January 27th, 2011:

    Wow! That is something special to be able to interview Antonio Carluccio. Great job!!!
    *kisses* HH

  3. Graphic Foodie said at 9:12 am on January 27th, 2011:

    Quite possibly my favourite food industry personality.

  4. vintagemacaroon said at 11:19 am on January 27th, 2011:

    What an honour to interview Antonio. Congratulations.x

  5. Anonymous said at 11:28 am on January 27th, 2011:

    Great interview. Graphic Foodie you should head to Destinations to hear him speak and watch him cook up a feast!

  6. Yeebot said at 12:13 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    How exciting it must have been to meet the man him. Great interview! :)

  7. claire said at 12:37 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    Squeeeeee you interviewed Carluccio! I’ve been half in love with him for years. Lucky you!

  8. ginandcrumpets said at 1:39 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    Mof mof food – I love it!

  9. Three-Cookies said at 1:59 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    Congrats on securing an interview with him.

  10. Helen (Grab Your Fork) said at 2:57 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    Ah lucky you! It was a bit of a surreal moment when I found myself sitting at the same table as him at a media dinner in Adelaide. He is quite the charmer and knows a dirty joke or two!

  11. linguina said at 3:58 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    Hey congrats!

    This article is supernice! I like a lot Antonio Carluccio and i had the chance to speak with him last year at La dolce Vita.

    I agree on almost everything, especially about the best ingredients! It’s soo true! Italian recipes are not about difficulties but great flavours and great ingredients put together in an easy way!

    Great piece!


  12. Jo Romero said at 6:55 am on January 28th, 2011:

    great article! we go to our local Carluccio’s all the time and it is good to know he is still involved in the restaurant. Loved reading this.

  13. Cooking Fairy said at 12:03 pm on January 28th, 2011:

    Great article chick! He’s one of my favourite. Very interesting fellow….

  14. bron said at 2:46 pm on January 28th, 2011:

    He sounds as lovely as he looks, and how lucky are you?!

    Great blog.

  15. kate said at 4:43 am on January 31st, 2011:

    how did you manage to get this interview.im jealous but more intrigued.its so brilliant.thanks

  16. Dan said at 9:05 pm on January 31st, 2011:

    Can’t believe you got to interview Uncle Tony. Nice read GC.

  17. Gourmet Chick said at 11:11 pm on February 1st, 2011:

    Kavey- thanks

    HH- yes it was very exciting!

    Graphic Foodie – When he talked about mof mof food I did think it was something you would approve of…

    Vintage Macaroon – one of the more fun things out of this blog!

    Anon – I know sounds like it will be good

    Yeebot- It was great fun

    Claire – me too!

    Gin and Crumpets- great phrase isn’t it?

    Three cookies – I was very lucky

    Helen – really? I did not hear the dirty jokes…

    Linguina – 100% agree it is all about quality of the produce

    Jo – I still visit Carluccio’s as well – a good standby place.

    Cooking Fairy – I agree, super interesting

    Bron – he was lovely

    Kate- I would like to give you a tale of intrigue but basically his PR rang me and asked me!

    Dan – I know lucky me

  18. Mairi said at 6:41 am on February 3rd, 2011:

    Great interview & so exciting to chat with Antonio Carluccio!

  19. Ritchie said at 6:54 pm on February 3rd, 2011:

    Great man! Carluccio, the first cookery book I bought in London. Great interview, well done!

  20. Gourmet Chick said at 9:56 pm on February 3rd, 2011:

    Mairi – Thanks it was exciting

    Ritchie – Do you still use it?

  21. Ritchie said at 4:19 pm on February 5th, 2011:

    Honestly, now I open it less often than I did during my first few years in London but I still love and cook his vegetables lasagna…that one with the spinach balls.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Gourmet Chick's free weekly email

Gourmet Chick