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Dining with Antonio Carluccio

Our favourite Italian chef Antonio Carluccio shares a few of his favourite things




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What’s your earliest food memory? The breast of my mother.
What foods did you like and dislike as a child? There were no foods that I can remember disliking. All my mother’s food was delicious.
What did you eat for school dinners? My mother used to send me off with a packed lunch on the train. There was always fresh fruit.
Do you have any cooking heroes? Pellegrino Artusi, the author of a famous Italian cookbook called La scienza In Cucina E L'arte Di Mangiare Bene (The Science of Cooking And The Art Of Eating Well).
Who is your greatest foodie inspiration? My mother and granny. I also have a favourite recipe for my Aunt Dora's Pasta & Bean Soup, which is hearty and delicious.
What was the first thing you ever cooked? Pasta.
What’s your worst cooking disaster? An avocado cake.
What would be your perfect family dinner? Having a family.
How often do you eat as a family? I often dine with friends but I have no family in London.
Do you have any tips on encouraging good table manners? To sit up at the table.
What’s the best recipes for weaning a baby? Cook with fresh ingredients and introduce the real tastes and smells.
What’s the best way to tempt a fussy eater? Always try and get them to try different things, even if it is just a small bit. Nobody can say they don’t like something if they have never tried it.
What’s the most unusual food you ate as a child? Bottarga, which is a delightfully salty pressed fish roe that is popular in Sicily and Sardinia.
What’s your favourite restaurant? New World in Gerard’s Place, London, which serves a variety of Chinese dishes including Dim Sum, Cantonese and Provincial cuisine. It's instant satisfaction!
What’s your food guilty pleasure? A tube of condensed milk.
What would be your last supper? Risotto with Porcini.
Where do you like to dine out? I don’t  dine out often but I enjoy cooking at home. If I do dine out, it’s at simple restaurants with good food.
How would you deal with a tantrumming child in a restaurant? I once saw a family with children in a smart restaurant and they gave the children a computer to entertain them. Maybe this is the way to stop tantrums. If you start taking children out when they are young, I am sure they will learn to act the way that is accepted.

Do you think families should be more encouraged to dine out in restaurants? Yes of course, it's lovely to see families out enjoying good food. Carluccio's is very family-friendly.

Antonio Carluccio will be sharing more of his passions for food and Italy and Destinations, The Holiday & Travel Show at Earls Court exhibition centre, London on February 3–6 2011.


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