Italian chef Antonio Carluccio was presented with an honorary OBE by the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, yesterday.
Carluccio, who received the award during a dinner at the Italian Embassy held in his honour, opened his first eponymous restaurant in Covent Garden's Neal Street in 1989.
He has since written several books on Italian cuisine, featured in a number of television programmes, opened a wholesale food business and a chain of cafés across south-east England.
Carluccio said: "I am immensely proud that my efforts to spread the gospel of the genuine Italian way of life have resulted in this amazing award. Such success is not only a tribute to my own achievements, but also to the brilliant collaborators and assistants I have worked with, as well as my wonderful wife Priscilla, show support I couldn't have done without. Thank you."
Jowell added that Carluccio had "enlivened Italian menus across the UK".
By Emily Manson
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