Emma Brophy talks Italian with Antonio Carluccio

As Chiswick says "Benvenuto" to the latest addition to the restaurant scene

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As Carluccio's opens their doors bringing their own brand of gioia di vivere to Chiswick, I was lucky enough to get the full Italian low down from the great man himself.

Antonio Carluccio left Italy at the tender age of 18 and found himself alone and in need of good food.  It was then that he started to cook and became passionate about the food that came from his home country.

Antonio opened his first Italian food shop in 1991 in Covent Garden with his wife Priscilla.  In those days, only a few products were sold and the labels were hand-written with care. Today, there are 26 Carluccio's cafes across London and the South which brings us nicely to their latest addition which is Chiswick.

What was it about Chiswick that attracted the Carluccios? I asked Antonio "Chiswick was the ideal area to open a caffe as we believe we could really offer something new, authentic and of the highest quality to the local residents - whether it be the perfect place to buy a coffee on their way to work, the ideal venue to take the children to and chat over lunch, enjoy a three course dinner or buy a selection of delicious foodie treats for that evening’s supper. We are also very much looking forward to joining such a thriving local community, of which we hope to be an integral part."

With so much established competition already in place, Antonio was keen to state what he believed Carluccio's would bring to Chiswick.  He said "The novelty of having a caffe, deli and restaurant all in one. The caffe has a stunning black and white print running the length of the caffe, depicting an authentic 1920s Italian dining scene. There are 16 covers for al fresco seating which are the ideal place to wile away a balmy sunny afternoon, watching the world go by, with one of Carluccio’s brand new lemon granites."

"But there are already more than 70 places to buy a cup of coffee here in Chiswick, what will set Carluccio’s apart?" I asked.

"The quality of our coffee above all, (our coffee is exclusively blended in Italy and we serve two varieties Napoli and Milano, courtesy of our very own in house baristas) the friendliness of our professional staff and the lovely surroundings."

Community minded Carluccio's contacted chiswickw4.com long before the paint was dry to discover how they could get involved with the local community.  I asked Antonio where this commendable idea came from "At Carluccio’s it is very important to us to to join and become part of the local community." he said "Working with local charities is key in this process and gives us the chance to give something back to the residents who support us so willingly. Also by employing local staff it once again cements our role in the locality."

Aside from joining Chiswick's community, Antonio Carluccio has just published a new book entitled Italia, which is about 20 Italian regions. "This book gave me such satisfaction and also gave me a deeper understanding of what real Italian food is about. I thought that I knew a lot, but from my research, I discovered treasures of unknown recipes, which are fascinating. On top of that I really believe that the only “fusion” cooking allowed would be with interregional products and not from abroad."

Although there will be no opening event as such, Carluccio's are looking forward to hosting a variety of special gastronomic evenings throughout the year, focusing on the very best Italian food and wine. Details will be confirmed very shortly.


Emma Brophy


May 17, 2006