40 ANTONIO CARLUCCIO COOKRESTAURATEURCOOKERY WRITER AND FOOD EXPERT Interview March 27th 2014 How do you feel when the media describe you as the godfather of Italian cuisine I always think the word godfather has something to do with the Mafia. I would not know however what else I could have been called. In a positive and appropriate sense I feel it is flattering. What were the rewards of touring Italy with Gennaro Contaldo another Italian chef exploring the countryside cities traditions and food I have known Gennaro for about 30 years. The similarity to observe Italian cooking although from two different points of view was rewarding. Knowing his investigative character I thought we equally gained from the confirmation of our combined heritage. This was also very beneficial for the spectator. What do you think is the secret of your success Passion a portion of greed and the taste buds in the right place as well as my love of sharing with other people. How important is the connection between the Italian family and food It is the most important connection because it offers the opportunity of sharing meals and being able to discuss all sorts of themes and experiences with family. What are the links between the different regions in Italy and cooking There are only some dishes which today are common to all the regions such as Spaghetti Pizza and Panetone. Otherwise there are 20 more regions which are all different with their own desire of being authentic and working with their local ingredients to create the best food. Why is food so important in Italy According to Pelegrino Artusi there are two things equally important in life eating and procreation. One without the other is impossible. So it is just as well to preserve the attention to food which lasts all your life. Why do you think people are fascinated by Italy its culture and food It is well known that Italy has been the cradle of culture music art architecture. Food is the complementary addition which nurtures this diverse culture. Some might describe you as the original celebrity chef. What do you think about the whole celebrity chef culture and do you think they have raised the profile of good food I see myself not as a celebrity chef but as a cook wanting to spread the gospel. To do this I had to be able to cook and to broadcast. There are some chefs who work on the sole effect of being a celebrity but I believe that is a limited way of seeing life. All in all during the 37 years I have been in London I have seen a raising of the bar in food production largely due to the more adventurous development of more than 80 ethnic world cuisines and their ingredients being available in London. What advice can you share with consumers wanting to cook traditional Italian food but worried about how it will turn out Be fearless Provide yourself with a big dustbin or a dog or two invite your friends and try until you succeed What are your favourite ingredientsrecipes Flour olive oil tomatoes and basil. With those simple ingredients you can make many different things. When I decide to eat something that I desire at that precise moment that is my favourite recipe. Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE OMRI PASSION A PORTION OF GREED AND THE TASTE BUDS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AS WELL AS MY LOVE OF SHARING WITH OTHER PEOPLE.