BUON RICORDO CHEF ARMANDO PERCUOCO CELEBRATES HIS RETIREMENT AT A SPECIAL EVENT AT TYRRELL’S WINES IN THE HUNTER VALLEY.
Buon Ricordo chef and owner Armando Percuoco celebrates the end of an era with a special lunch at the Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley winery.
WAITERS RUN PLATES of truffle risotto down to a giant teepee overlooking a vineyard, where moments before guests were treated to a demonstration of vine pruning. It’s here, at the Tyrrell’s Pokolbin vineyard, home to of one of Australia’s greatest wine-making dynasties, that chef Armando Percuoco has come to announce his retirement from his iconic Sydney restaurant Buon Ricordo. It’s a career that began when he was only 14 and started working in the family restaurant in Naples before he moved to Australia in 1972. Fifteen years later he opened Buon Ricordo, Italian for ‘good memory’, and its art-filled dining room quickly attracted a loyal following. The Italian government acknowledged his success in 1997, with an Insegna del Ristorante Italiano award for his contribution to authentic Italian food outside of Italy. Signature dishes such as the Fettuccine al Tartufovo, which is a creamy pasta topped with a fried truffle egg, feature on the menu alongside braised lamb shoulder served with broad beans and peas. The latter, from New England farmer Peter Strelitz’s Milly Hill Lamb, is just one example of Armando’s dedication to finding the best producers — a passion that brought him, with his wife Gemma, to his Valleyfield Escape property in the Hunter Valley. Nestled in Laguna between the Yengo and Watagans national parks, the couple spend as much time at the 93-hectare property as they can. Walking through the 1400 olive trees Armando planted to make oil for the restaurant, it’s clear that while he may not actually be in the kitchen — he will be leaving the cooking in the capable hands of head chef David Wright — there will always be something Armando has produced on the table. “I’ve been here for 31 years so it’s extremely sad and difficult for me to say goodbye to my customers,” says Armando. “But I’m happy my legacy will continue with someone I trust — David has been with me since he was a 17-year-old apprentice. I’m 72 now and I think it’s time I enjoy the rest of my life.” Buon Ricordo, 108 Boundary Street, Paddington, NSW. (02) 9360 6729; buonricordo.com.au