"Godfather of Italian cooking" Antonio Carluccio OBE has died, aged 80.
The celebrity chef, restaurateur and cookery author, best known for his eponymous restaurant chain, wrote 22 books - including his bestselling Two Greedy Italians with Genarro Contaldo and My Kitchen Table - and appeared in numerous television programmes, the latest being the second series of BBC2's "Two Greedy Italians".
Hardie Grant and Quadrille, which published Carluccio's many cookbooks over the years, latterly Vegetables in October 2016, said he had been part of the family and paid tribute to him as "a man of ready wit and great knowledge about Italian food".
Quadrille’s publishing director Sarah Lavelle said: “Everyone at Quadrille is greatly saddened to hear of the passing of the mighty Antonio Carluccio. For many years he’s been a part of the Quadrille family, a true legend, admired and respected the world over. It’s a privilege to have worked with him – a man of ready wit and great knowledge about Italian food, who inspired and informed so many people through his TV programmes and books. What a loss to the world of food.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and with the dedicated book teams who have worked with him so closely and happily over many years of publishing.”
Sandy Grant, chief executive of Hardie Grant, said: “Antonio was one of the all-time great food communicators and our most prolific author. He was able to pass his passion and enthusiasm for all that is best about Italian food to his readers and any television or live audience. He was a friend to the foodie community across the world. I can talk to the friends and supporters he made on his many trips to Australia. His warmth charm and humour will be missed.”
A statement from the Carluccio’s restaurant chain said: "We are incredibly saddened by the news that Antonio Carluccio, our founder, passed away on Wednesday. Antonio built Carluccio’s from one restaurant to the fantastic brand it is today. It isn’t just Antonio’s name above our doors, but his heart and soul lives and breathes throughout our restaurants.
"Antonio was an OBE, OMRI and a much loved and respected Italian cookery writer, cook, restaurateur, food expert and TV personality. He was regarded as the godfather of Italian cooking. Antonio has been a huge inspiration to many of us and his energy, zest for life and sense of humour will be greatly missed."