Tuesday 18 February 2020

Interview with Antonio Carluccio

SoGlos catches up with culinary hero and legendary Italian chef Antonio Carluccio ahead of the opening of his anticipated new Carluccio's restaurant in Cheltenham.

Cheltenham’s thriving culinary scene is about to get a tasty new Italian addition when Carluccio’s opens its doors on Regent Street on Friday 22 May 2015.

SoGlos spoke to the man behind the business, Italian culinary great Antonio Carluccio, to find out what diners can expect to discover when the eatery’s first Gloucestershire outpost welcomes customers later this month.

Have you been planning a Cheltenham outpost for a while now?

Our location is very important to us. We did a lot of research and we are pleased to have found this spot on Regent Street for our new Carluccio’s in Cheltenham.

For anyone who hasn’t eaten in Carluccio’s before, how would you sum up the dining experience?

We offer a fresh, modern approach to Italian dining. At Carluccio’s you will always receive a good reception, good food, a lovely atmosphere and affordable prices.

What can Cheltenham diners expect to find on the menu?

Carluccio’s cuisine contemplates all the regions and the menu changes seasonally. You’ll find delicious food matched with regional Italian drinks.

What’s the inspiration behind the dishes?

Simplicity is always the key, in addition to following my personal motto ‘MOF, MOF’ – minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour.

Do you have a favourite dish on the menu?

One extremely popular dish is Penne Giardiniera, which is one I created some time ago. We decided to turn its popularity into helping a charity and 50p from each dish sold is donated to Action Against Hunger. To date it has collected a staggering £1.5million.

What are store-cupboard essentials for budding Italian chefs?

Pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.

How has Carluccio’s adapted since you first established in 1999?

Extremely well. Making sure that the majority of ingredients are directly imported from Italy and the rest found locally, particularly the meat and fish.

Does the family-friendly ethos of Carluccio’s stem from the importance of food and family in Italian culture?

Yes it does. Italian natives are a sociable bunch and this is resonated in everything we offer from the communal tables to the sharing boards and brunch offerings.

What do you think it is about Italian food that has such an enduring appeal?

The variety. Pasta is, of course, a signature offering but we have something for everyone, from fresh fish and steaks for two, to deli snacks and antipasti, to cakes and pastries and indulgent desserts.

Do you think your heritage influenced your protégé Jamie Oliver’s career and love of Italian food?

Yes, Jamie did undertake training in my restaurant. It’s great to see that he has applied the formula of simplicity to a vast range of his recipes.

For more information see Carluccio’s or call (01242) 222026 after it opens on Friday 22 May 2015.

By Anna McKittrick

© SoGlos
Tuesday 12 May 2015

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