Food critic and writer Paolo Tullio dies at the age of 65

Popular chef with huge reputation in culinary world passes away after illness

The food critic and writer Paulo Tullio has died at the age of 65 following a short illness

The food critic and writer Paulo Tullio has died at the age of 65 following a short illness

 

The food critic and writer Paolo Tullio has died at the age of 65 following an illness.

Seán Moncrieff, on whose Newstalk Radio show Mr Tullio had been a regular guest for the last five years, described him as an eternal optimist; a man who, despite forging a reputation in the culinary world, could entertain his audience on any number of subjects.

A celebrated critic and Michelin-starred chef, Mr Tullio moved to Ireland in 1968 to study at Trinity College Dublin. He entered the restaurant business in the late 1970s.

“Paolo being Paolo, anytime he was contacted and you would say, ‘how are you doing?’, he would say, ‘oh I’m fine and I’ll be back in next week’. He was a very optimistic person,” Mr Moncrieff told the Irish Times.

“He said he was going in [to hospital] for three days and he went in for six weeks.

“He is known for food but he was a polymath. He was interested in just about everything. He was one of those people you could mine for hours for all sorts of things.”

Mr Tullio had a disparate CV, working for a spell as a cattle dealer and a clinical psychologist before entering the kitchen. Over the years, through his writing, television and radio contributions, not to mention his cooking, he became a popular name in Irish kitchens.

Until his death, he had lived in Co Wicklow where he counted the film maker John Boorman and former U2 manager Paul McGuinness among his neighbours.

Mr Moncrieff described him as a “bit of an old hippie” who “never wanted anything of anybody at all. He was so charming and he never seemed to think anything wasn’t doable”.

“I was extremely fond of him and I never knew anyone who wasn’t.”

Mr Tullio was the author of North of Naples, South of Rome, which focused on the region of Italy from which he came, and Mushroom Man.

He was also a familiar face on television, where he presented and contributed to several RTÉ productions and even featured in a number of films, including The Butcher Boy and The General.

Stephen Rae, group editor-in-chief at Independent News & Media, where Mr Tullio worked as a critic, said his death was a tremendous loss.

“Paolo was so widely respected and loved by television audiences and our readers alike,” he said.