Culinary legend Antonio Carluccio OBE passed away this morning, according to an announcement on his social media accounts.
He was due to perform the prize giving at the Carlsberg Food and Drink Awards in Northampton next week, which has a tradition of inviting a major figure from the food and drink world to honour the winners.
A statement on Antonio’s website said:
It is with great sadness that we announce that Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE sadly passed away this morning.
Commendatore Antonio Carluccio was an OBE, OMRI and a much loved and respected Italian cookery writer, cook, restaurateur, food expert and loved TV personality, he was regarded as the Godfather of Italian cooking. Raised in the rural North West of Italy, Antonio had a rare and privileged breadth of culinary knowledge. Antonio was appointed Commendatore by the Italian Government in 1998 for services rendered to Italy, the equivalent of a British knighthood. He also received an OBE from The Queen in 2007 for services to the catering industry.
In 1981 Antonio opened the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden, London, which traded for 26 years. In the same year he also was runner up in the Sunday Times Cook of the Year.
In 1999 Antonio co-founded Carluccio’s and it is his dedication and legacy which has made the restaurant group one of the UK’s most successful and well-known brands.
Antonio was awarded the AA Hospitality Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. Winners of this award are congratulated for making significant contributions to their industry, which have had a notable impact, and have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress in their field.
A spokesman for the CFDA said: “It is a shock and so terribly sad. Our thoughts are with Antonio’s friends and family.”
It is thought likely that long time supporter of the awards William Sitwell, Editor of Waitrose Food Magazine, will step in to perform the prize giving which is at Royal & Derngate next Wednesday.