In September 2008, Antonio Carluccio, the much loved and respected Italian cookery writer, celebrated 50 years of championing, cooking and eating genuine, regional Italian food and wine. In 1958 at the age of 21 he 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.
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 thirteen books, published worldwide and made numerous television programmes including the hugely popular Antonio Carluccio's Northern Italian Feast and Southern Italian Feast.