Celebrity chef Carluccio dead at 80

Man who nurtured Jamie Oliver also co-found the restaurant chain that bears his name

Image Credit: AP

Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, who has died age 80.

London: Celebrity chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio, whose television programmes and books were credited with turning British households on to Italian cooking, died on Wednesday aged 80.

The London-based Carluccio was known for his namesake restaurant chain and his nurturing of the “Naked” chef Jamie Oliver, who became an even greater television star.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE sadly passed away this morning,” his website said.

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The son of a station master, Carluccio grew up in the countryside of Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region.

He briefly worked as a journalist for La Stampa newspaper in Turin before moving to Vienna when he was 21 to study languages.

But he moved into the food and drink industry as an importer of Italian wine in Germany from 1962, moving to London in 1975.

He opened the Neal Street Restaurant in central London in 1981, whose customers included Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and pop star Elton John.

The restaurant, which ran for 26 years, launched the career of Oliver, who started out there as a pastry chef.

Oliver, 42, said he heard the news with “great sadness”.

He shared a picture on Instagram of an “inspirational” Carluccio cook book which first got him “hooked on pasta” and drove him to work for the Italian master.