Thursday, September 09, 2004

Carluccio takes the pasta

The Evening Standard relays Antonio Carluccio's tirade against Italian food sold in supermarkets:

'Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon, supermarkets have committed huge crimes when it comes to Italian food. It is often what I would call "Britalian" food.' Mr Carluccio, who owns a chain of deli-cafes, claimed that stores sold cheap versions to maximise profits.

Of course, Carluccio's chain maximises price to minimise profit. I think not.
I have recently been told, by an ex head chef of a Carluccio's cafe who now works in my kitchen, of the huge mark ups on the food sold, and the poor quality of most of the food and the fact that most of it is brought in, not made on the premises. I myself have eaten plenty of average/overpriced and poor meals in Carluccio's before I decided never to go back. The problem is not so much the quality of the food (which whilst never threatening to be good, does not reach the awfulness of Bella Pasta or Pizza Express), but the arrogant advertising and ridiculous prices. Carluccio's food is suitable for no more than a €15 a head trattoria in Italy.

To be fair to Carluccio (who elsewhere has admitted he is not a top chef, as claimed in the article), he does state in the article that the real problem is that British people do not know how to cook and therefore buy any old crap in the supermarkets (and I would add, pay anything for anything in average restaurants).

He also states (in the print edition): 'if you want to get the taste of Italy, go there'. I agree - and make sure you don't go to Carluccio's except to admire the prices, especially in the deli sections. They are really quite funny.

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