The celebrity chef, who was Jamie Oliver’s mentor, has passed away, his agent confirmed.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE sadly passed away this morning,” a statement read.
Tributes poured in for the late star, as heartbroken fans paid their respects on Twitter.
“Gutted to hear about @CookCarluccio – Two Greedy Italians one of my favourites – just wanted to hang out and eat with him and Genaro,” one commented.
“God bless you Antonio Carluccio you were an amazing talented chef,” another said.
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“So sad to hear Antonio Carluccio has passed away he was one of my favourite chefs,” a Twitter user posted.
“So very sad. A food hero, and from my own experience, a charming man. #Carluccio #RIP,” a fourth replied.
And MasterChef star William Sitwell shared a heartfelt tribute to the restauranteur – who founded the popular Italian chain, Carluccio’s.
Taking to Instagram, the food critic posted a photo of the late star to his 3,518 followers.
“The saddest news. One of the loveliest people, and a really wonderful friend, Antonio Carluccio, has died,” he captioned the shot.
“I will so miss him. His filthy jokes, his amazing array of expresso machines, his collection of chilled and jarred mushrooms, his wonderful conversation, the strong Italian accent that never left him.”
“It is so sad but what an absolute joy to know that he really was a friend. Every mushroom growing quietly beneath a pile of leaves in one of the secret woods that only he knew about might shed a little tear knowing he will never pick one of them again.”
The saddest news. One of the loveliest people, and a really wonderful friend, Antonio Carluccio, has died. He was due to stay with me next week to help present the Northants Food and Drink Awards and I was so looking forward to seeing him and giving him an illustration I just had framed. It accompanied the last piece he wrote for me, a beautiful memory of his war years, and the illustration depicted him at his bedroom window above the station-masters house where he lived as a child. He loved the picture and said it showed exactly the scene in his own memory. I was so lucky to get to know him well over the years. I often visited him at his home in Wandsworth chatting over the big wooden table where he would write – always by hand in pencil. And he never stopped writing books. When one ended he simply started another. In one corner of the room were huge numbers of walking sticks – he would whittle in his spare time. And everywhere there were mushroom related ornaments. He was famous for his love of funghi so every damn person thought a mushroom-related piece of art would make a great present. He came to London in the wine business after working for the Italian typewriter firm Olivetti and through Terence Conran and his sister Priscilla – who he married – he got into the food business starting a cafe in Covent Garden. The rest is history. I will so miss him. His filthy jokes, his amazing array of expresso machines, his collection of chilled and jarred mushrooms, his wonderful conversation, the strong Italian accent that never left him. How lucky Emily and I were over the summer when we saw him ambling through the Chelsea Arts Club and he joined us both for dinner. ‘I don’t drink anything these days,’ he said as I offered him a glass of wine. ‘Only whisky.’ Then that grin, that laugh, the shock of thick white curly hair. He had such warmth and at 80 great energy. He was only working in Australia very recently. It is so sad but what an absolute joy to know that he really was a friend. Every mushroom growing quietly beneath a pile of leaves in one of the secret woods that only he knew about might shed a little tear knowing he will never pick one of them again.
A post shared by William Sitwell (@williamsitwell) on
Antonio was known for his Italian restaurant chain, Carluccio’s, which was founded back in 1999.
Back in 2007, he was awarded an OBE from the Queen for his services to the food industry.
He wrote 20 books on Italian cuisine and often appeared in cooking shows, most notably Two Greedy Italians, with chef Gennaro Contaldo.