Antonio Carluccio, the Italian chef and restaurateur "considered by many to be the godfather of Italian gastronomy in the U.K.," died November 8, the Guardian reported. He was 80. A "colorful and well-loved character familiar to British food lovers for his dozens of cookery books and appearances on television," Carlucci wrote 22 books and starred in TV programs including Antonio Carluccio's Italian Feast and the BBC2 series Two Greedy Italians, alongside the chef Gennaro Contaldo.
In 1981, he opened the Neal Street restaurant in London's Covent Garden, which launched the career of Jamie Oliver before it closed in 2007. In an Instagram post expressing "great sadness" at the news of his mentor's death, Oliver wrote: "He was my first London Boss at the Neal Street restaurant 25 years ago which was an institution and Mecca of wild mushrooms where I had the pleasure of working for him. He was such a charismatic charming don of all things Italian! Always hanging out the front door of the restaurant with a big fat cigar a glass of something splendid and his amazing fuzzy white hair."
Carluccio's books include 100 Pasta Recipes (My Kitchen Table); Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy (with Gennaro Contaldo); Vegetables; Carluccio's Complete Italian Food; Antonio Carluccio's Simple Cooking; and Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery.
He was appointed commendatore by the Italian government in 1998; received an OBE from the Queen in 2007 for services to the catering industry, and in 2012 received the AA Hospitality Lifetime Achievement award, given to people who have made significant contributions to their industry.