Antonio Carluccio is a larger-than-life character who, over his 50-year career, has inspired thousands of people with his no-fuss Italian cooking and passion for good food and wine. But behind the famous name is a man whose life has been full of unexpected twists and turns, joy and sadness, love and loss. Born on the Amalfi Coast in the South of Italy in 1937, Antonio's taste buds were first awakened by his Mamma's delicious home cooking. In this book he recounts the early years, including his first experience cooking simple suppers on a two-ring stove, to his unplanned meteoric rise to fame as the founder of one of the UK's most prominent restaurant brands, prolific author and successful television presenter. Despite his success, Antonio has never forgotten is humble beginnings or the women, who next to food, have been the biggest influence on his life. Throughout the text will be the recipes that have formed the touchstones of his life. This is a story of commitment, drive and the ingredients needed to succeed.
In 1958, at the age of 21, Antonio Carluccio began to cook simple pasta suppers for himself and his flat-mate on a two-ring stove in Vienna. Now, known for his gentle manner, gruff voice and his wild crop of white hair, Antonio is regarded as the Godfather of Italian gastronomy.
Being born on the Amalfi Coast in the South and raised in the wooded North-West has given Antonio a rare and privileged breadth of culinary knowledge. It was here, in Piedmont, at the age of seven, that Antonio started his life-long past-time of hunting and collecting mushrooms and funghi with his father.
After time spent living in Germany, Antonio moved to London in 1975 and while learning English, traded as a wine merchant of Italian wines. His hobby of studying and collecting wild mushrooms continued to flourish as he found many varieties growing in the English countryside close to London, almost completely undiscovered.
Antonio took over the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden in 1981, which traded for 26 years. In 1991 Antonio opened a deli next to the restaurant and in 1998 started the first Carluccio's Caffè in Market Place, London. After ten years developing the Carluccio's caffè business Antonio is no longer a director but continues to work with the Carluccio's team on menu development and chef training whilst also concentrating on new projects.
In 1983 Antonio made his first appearance on BBC 2 talking about Mediterranean food and at the same time was asked to write his first book, An Invitation to Italian Cooking. Subsequently he has written many books, published worldwide and made numerous television programmes. In 1998, Antonio was awarded the Commendatore OMRI by the President of Italy for services to Italian gastronomy, the equivalent of a British knighthood. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary OBE.