Antonio was the heart of Italy
Antonio Carluccio and Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House
It was four years ago I met simply the best Italian chef and proper gent Antonio Carluccio.
We got together at Danesfield House with the then head chef Adam Simmonds to help launch a campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support to hold a dinner party in your home to raise cash.
Antonio was larger-than-life - a big, hulking man with a large face, a big smile but with a voice as soft as whipped mascarpone.
In his 70s he moved slowly and used a stick but he still had lots to say about food.
He said about the campaign: "It’s a great cause and it doesn’t matter how you do it. The simplest way could be to grab some bread, a salami, some wine and cheese and invite some friends to join you. Sharing food is an act of love and if you can give something back at the same time it’s fantastic.”
So typical as the man himself was happy with bread, salami and a glass of vino.
But that night he shared with us his recipe for Cream of Asparagus soup, and crispy Cauliflower and Cheese Fritters (Croccantini di Cavolfiore e Formaggio).
Delicious but simple food, and that's what he did best. His cooking was the heart of Italian cuisine and it's what he lived for.