March 2, 2024


Food never sleeps.

From Italy to an Oxford library: a new home for Antonio Carluccio’s strategies | Antonio Carluccio

4 min read

There was a time when obtaining “fresh pasta” just meant buying up a pack of dry spaghetti instead than a tin from the shelf.

Just a number of a long time on and a revolution in our knowledge of Italian meals has brought pesto, tortellini, polenta and even pasta flour into British residences. It is a change in kitchen behavior that is in significant portion the legacy of a person gentleman: Antonio Carluccio.

Now the huge selection of historic recipes, notes and artefacts collected by Carluccio, who died four years in the past at the age of 80, is to go on show at a new university library and archive in Oxford.

A record of the existence and do the job of the cookery author, cook dinner and restaurateur opens on 13 September, as component of Oxford Brookes’ Specific Collections and Archives. And very first in line at the door will be chef Gennaro Contaldo, Carluccio’s longtime close friend, who mentioned that he cannot wait around.

“It’s likely to carry so several memories again. I do consider of Antonio each individual day and he receives a prayer. I can always hear his voice in my mind and I have arguments with him, imagining him telling me that what I am performing is garbage.”

The decline of Carluccio is even now felt sharply by Contaldo, who generally appeared on monitor with his buddy, which include in their BBC2 sequence Two Greedy Italians.

“I miss out on him dearly. I even have some of his shirts and a jacket to remind me of him,” stated Contaldo, 72, who is also well acknowledged as Jamie Oliver’s mentor. “Antonio was strange for acquiring so numerous outdated publications and these an desire in historical past. He was a cook, sure, but he was an unbelievable inspiration much too. He would explain to you every variation of a recipe from memory. He was an Open up College of Food stuff.”

Simple Cooking with Carluccio’s drafts and notes, now in the archive.
Easy Cooking with Carluccio’s drafts and notes, now in the archive.

Commendatore Antonio Carluccio, OBE, was born in Salerno in 1937, quickly shifting to northern Italy with his stationmaster father, mother and 5 siblings. He came to Britain in 1975 as a wine importer and commenced to amass a personal library of food stuff crafting spanning the 16th century to the 21st, of which virtually 800 titles have absent to Oxford Brookes.

The works involve books on Italian delicacies, on mushrooms and on basic foraging as perfectly as on entire world cookery. Manuscripts of Carluccio’s have textbooks, with hand-created notes and push cuttings, make very clear his effect on the food items scene of the 1980s, along with early footage of his appearances on BBC2’s Food items and Consume programme, of his first unbiased series Antonio Carluccio’s Italian Feasts in 1996 and of his final programme, Antonio’s Six Seasons.

“Antonio protected so quite a few styles of cooking. Italian food stretches from the Dolomites throughout to the Adriatic and the Mediterranean coasts and down to the southern islands, of course,” claimed Contaldo. “The Romans really chose the most effective position in the globe to dwell since in Italy every area thinks they have the greatest foods. It is the campanilismo, as Antonio utilised to say. Every person appreciates the sound of the bell of their possess village.”

Carluccio with Gennaro Contaldo in Two Greedy Italians.
Carluccio with Gennaro Contaldo in Two Greedy Italians. Photograph: David Loftus/BBC

Handwritten menus, with artwork by David Hockney, from Carluccio’s influential Neal Road Restaurant will be on present, as will artworks donated by some of the famous clientele in lieu of payment. The archive also incorporates a collection of the strolling sticks he liked to whittle.

Helen Workman, director of learning resources at Oxford Brookes, described Carluccio as a “giant of the foodstuff scene” and mentioned the new library would be an vital addition to the food stuff and drink unique collections, which consist of the collections of Ken Hom and Jane Grigson.

“The beautiful foraging sticks which he whittled are amid our favorite things,” she stated.

Carluccio’s food heritage is also kept alive by means of the basis he recognized shortly just before his loss of life. With its motto “Training to feed, feeding for life”, it supports those people working in hospitality and has supplied food stuff to more than one particular million individuals by way of grants created in Britain, India, South Africa, Italy and Malawi.

The autumn months, when the pair would frequently go out foraging and exploring for fungi and nuts with each other, will be particularly difficult for Contaldo, he claimed. “But on his behalf I am quite happy of this library. Despite the fact that probably ‘proud’ is the erroneous term since it appears as if we are on the lookout down. I’m just pretty ‘content’ then. When it will come to food items, he was the king.”