Antonio Carluccio

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Antonio Carluccio
Antonio signing books.jpg
Carluccio in Glasgow
Born Antonio Carluccio
(1937-04-19) April 19, 1937 (age 80)
Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Italy
Residence London, England
Nationality Italian
Other names Antonio Carluccio OBE OMRI
Occupation Chef
Years active 1958-present
Known for His cookery
His books
Being the owner of Carluccio's
Home town Borgofranco d'Ivrea, Piedmont

Antonio Carluccio, OBE OMRI (born 19 April 1937) is an Italian chef, restaurateur and food expert, based in London. He is known as the godfather of Italian gastronomy, with a career stretching back more than 50 years. He is perhaps best known for his partnership with fellow Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo and their BBC Two television series Two Greedy Italians.[1]

Early life[edit]

Antonio Carluccio was born in Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Italy. His father was a stationmaster. He moved with his father's job when he was young and lived in Castelnuovo Belbo and Borgofranco d'Ivrea. Living near the northwest, an area with great vegetation, as a child Antonio would hunt through the forest for different mushrooms and fungi with his father. After leaving school he did his compulsory one year of military service in the Italian Navy. After leaving the navy he briefly worked as a journalist with La Stampa in Turin and then as a technician and sales representative for typewriter manufacturer for Olivetti.[2][3]


Carluccio moved to Vienna at age 21 to study languages. He lived in Germany from 1962 to 1975, working as a wine merchant in Hamburg. He came to the United Kingdom in 1975 to work as a wine merchant, importing Italian wines.

Carluccio became the manager of Terence Conran's Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden in 1981, and became its owner in 1989. Under Carluccio, British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver began his professional career at the Neal Street Restaurant, which closed in 2006.

Carluccio has written twenty books on Italian cuisine and appeared on television in the BBC's Food and Drink Programme, and in his own series Antonio Carluccio's Italian Feasts in 1996. In 2011 his travels around Italy were filmed for the BBC series Two Greedy Italians.

In 2008, it was reported that Antonio Carluccio had stabbed himself in the chest.[4] He was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and later discharged.

Carluccio later admitted himself to The Priory clinic, and reports said that he was suffering from exhaustion and that the incident was an accident.[5] His close friend and fellow chef Gennaro Contaldo said that it was an accident and he was exhausted when it happened.[6] In an interview from March 2009, Carluccio revealed that it was an accident that occurred while cutting a loaf of bread.

However, in his autobiography Carluccio admitted he had suffered a history of depression, stemming from the death of his brother in 1960, and the accident was in fact a suicide attempt which was interrupted by his personal assistant.[7][8]

In 2012 Antonio Carluccio was awarded the AA Lifetime Achievement Award and released his memoirs 'A Recipe For Life'.


In 1991, Antonio and his then wife opened an Italian food shop, named Carluccio's. They expanded this in 1994 to a wholesale business.

In 1999, the first "Carluccio's Caffè" was opened in Market Place, London. A joint authentic Italian restaurant with integrated food shop, the premises opened to serve light, Italian-based breakfasts to diners. The chain expanded, initially across southeast England, and subsequently across the UK. In 2005, Carluccio's listed on the Alternative Investment Market as a PLC. In 2010 the company received a takeover offer from the Landmark Group, a Dubai-based enterprise, valuing Carluccio's at £90m. The transaction was approved by the shareholders and completed in October 2010.

Today, Carluccio's operates from over 80 UK locations. In addition the company has granted franchises over two territories: the first over Ireland with presently two locations[9] open in Dublin; the second over 6 countries in the Middle East including three locations presently open in Dubai.[10]

After ten years of development, Antonio rejoined the company as a consultant.

In 2007 it was reported that the company paid waiting staff less than the UK minimum wage,[11] and expected staff to make up the remaining remuneration through customers' tips. Soon after this was revealed, the UK law was changed to ensure that companies must meet the minimum required remuneration initially and that tips should not be counted towards an employee's paid salary level.


Carluccio was given the national honour of Commendatore dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by the Italian government, the equivalent to a British knighthood, in 1998 for his contribution to the Italian food industry. In 2007 he was appointed an OBE. In 2012 Antonio Carluccio was awarded the AA Lifetime Achievement Award.


  • An Invitation to Italian Cooking (1986)
  • A Passion for Mushrooms (1988)
  • A Taste of Italy (1989)
  • Passion for Pasta (1993)
  • Italian Feast (1996)
  • Antonio Carluccio's Music and Menus from Italy: Great Italian Arias, Classic Italian Recipes (1996)
  • Carluccio's Complete Italian Food (1997)
  • Southern Italian Feast (1998)
  • The Complete Mushroom Book (2001)
  • Antonio Carluccio Goes Wild: 120 Fresh Recipes for Wild Food from Land and Sea (2001)
  • Italia (2005)
  • Carluccio's Complete A-Z of Italian Food (2007)
  • Antonio Carluccio's Simple Cooking (2009)
  • My Kitchen Table - Antonio Carluccio: 100 Pasta Recipes (2011)
  • Two Greedy Italians (2011) with Gennaro Contaldo
  • Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy (2012) with Gennaro Contaldo
  • Recipe for Life (2012)
  • Antonio Carluccio: The Collection (2012)
  • Antonio Carluccio's Pasta (2014)


  • Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast (1998)
  • Antonio Carluccio's Italian Feast (2001)


External links[edit]