Working as a Chef
I worked as a chef in several places throughout the country but unfortunately Italian food in restaurants was not so great in those days. However, I had the good fortune of meeting Antonio Carluccio and working at his Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden. It was here, where a few years later, I had the pleasure to hire the young Jamie Oliver as pastry chef, taking him under my wing and teaching him all I knew about Italian food. We became really close - he was like a son to me and I became his "London Dad."
In 1999, I opened up my own restaurant, passione, on Charlotte Street in London, which for 10 years went from strength to strength and in 2005 was awarded best Italian restaurant in London. It was during this time that my first cook book was published and I began to appear regularly on food programmes and finally together with Antonio Carluccio on the successful BBC2 series Two Greedy Italians, which has subsequently been transmitted in many countries all over the world. Filming for the series was very exciting and took us to many beautiful parts of Italy, from the Alpine region in the north to remote southern villages of Calabria. The contrasts were amazing, not only geographically with diverse landscapes and climate, but also the cultures and traditions of the people and of course the food. I cannot help but be passionate about Italy and I am so pleased to be associated with Citalia, who like me, share the same passion and enthusiasm for this unique country.
It will be my pleasure over the next 12 months to guide you around my home country with its mountains, hills, forests, lakes, coast, the beautiful islands, the ancient historical cities, the culture, traditions and of course the wonderful food. Whilst writing I am transported back to Italy and I thank Citalia for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I hope you will enjoy this journey with me and visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world with Citalia. For now, I wish you all best wishes for the New Year - Tanti Auguri di Felice Anno Nuovo!