Antonio Carluccio sunned himself on Ecclesall Road when he arrived to open his latest restaurant.
He encouraged guests who arrived to celebrate to come back and pick up one of his picnic hampers and head for a local park, then went al fresco himself.
“You have so many lovely green spaces in this city; I am very impressed,” he said.
Carluccio told The Star the a second site in Sheffield (the first opened at Meadowhall in 2012) had been a long time in the planning. “It wasn’t an impulsive thing. It made sense. There are lots of restaurants on Ecclesall Road but competition makes things interesting and offers the customer more choice,” he said. “And Sheffield people are demanding of good food. They have come up to me and said: Thank God you are here.”
The railway man’s son happily admitted he is no chef, but taught himself to cook like his mama “to impress the girls” while a languages student in Vienna. His career as a wine merchant in Germany brought him to London in 1975. “I had realised that I could communicate with people through my cooking and became an ambassador for Italian food at a time when British people didn’t know much about it,” he explained.
The restaurant chain for which he now acts as a consultant, having sold his shares, is “proof that the best Italian food comes from peasants - it is simply done, from good ingredients.”
The all-day city venue has seating for 88 people inside and 10 outside and will be hosting culinary classes and cultural events. The first, on
August 27 is a £15 evening tasting of wines for summer.