ABOUT FAMIGLIA PERCUOCO
Mario Percuoco (snr) was the 3rd generation of his family to pursue a career in hospitality. After working in some of the best restaurants in Naples, he arrived in Australia from Naples with a wealth of culinary knowledge. He introduced many Australian diners to the staples of the Italian diet – the enormous variety of antipasto, fried zucchini flowers, authentic pasta dishes, and meats and cheeses which in the early 1970’s was largely unheard of here.
Dining out in Australia in the 70′s consisted of few options; your local Chinese restaurant, English-influenced club/pub food, fish and chips or americanised imitations of Italian food.
Mario Percuoco and his eldest son Armando opened Pulcinella in 1979 where Mario was determined to introduce real Antipasto to Australian diners. However, Australia in the 1970′s had very limited ingredients available to create a truly authentic antipasto cart with its array of seasonal vegetable dishes, so he pushed a number of food suppliers to either create or source the ingredients required. Mario Percuoco is also credited with introducing Australians to mascarpone, a cheese made from cream and traditionally used in various dishes of the Lombardy region of Italy.
It’s also the main ingredient of the classic dessert Tiramisu.
Run by the Percuoco family, Pulcinella was a sprawling 200 seat restaurant located in Sydney’s Kings Cross, with a reputation for fresh Italian food, attentive service and lively atmosophere. Armando was the face of the business and the driving force behind its success along with his (then) wife Trudy, brother Tony, sisters Anna and Carmela and mother Olympia – all working to make it one of the best-loved Italian restaurants in the country.
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In 1987, Armando opened Buon Ricordo in Paddington, an Italian fine dining experience.
This was shortly followed by brother Tony opening Senso Unico in Surry Hills – another very popular Italian restaurant.
After 10 years with Senso Unico, Tony moved to the Gold Coast (QLD), Where he and youngest brother Carlo opened Ristorante Grissini, which quickly became one of the most well-known restaurants in the city.
Carlo, the youngest of Mario’s, children soon after, opened a casual dining restaurant and pizzeria aptly named, “Bocconcini”.
By 1997, the two brothers and their sister (Anna) joined forces once again and opened Ristorante Fellini at Marina Mirage on the Gold Coast.
In the meantime, back in NSW, Armando opened Gastronomia Chianti (in ’92) in partnership with Doreen Orsati, reflecting the Milanese style, ‘Tavola Calda’, literally “hot tables” – a sort of deli/cafe/bistro that offered hot and cold pastas, salads, panini, main dishes and side dishes, in addition to desserts, soft drinks, wine and beer.
In the late 90′s, Armando and his partner, Gemma Cunningham planted an olive grove in the Hunter Valley, with the aim to produce and distribute Armando’s own brand of olive oil. After 10 years, the first crop of olives was harvested and now the oil is available in a number of delicatessens, specialty food shops and Buon Ricordo itself, under the label, “Armando”. In addition, the property also produces Seville orange marmalade and is just in the early stages of developing a small vineyard.
For the last 5 years, Valleyfield has offered boutique accommodation in a luxurious, private guesthouse (Valleyfield Escape), nestled at the base of beautiful limestone hills with views of the olive grove, native flora and fauna and a short drive to the famous Hunter Valley wine region.
Around the same time as Armando and Gemma opened the guest house, the Percuoco family in QLD had established 2 new businesses;
1. Pastificio Fellini – An artisan-style pasta and sauce-making facility, situated behind the Fellini restaurant and
2. EcoStudio Fellini – comprised of 6 unique guest lodges and event facilities, it specialises in weddings, corporate events and other special occasion functions.
2011 was a year of new ventures for the Percuoco family with Armando’s son, Mario Percuoco, opening Ristorante Acqua Pazza in the Sydney CBD, launching the 5th generation of restaurateurs into the Australian market.
Also in 2011, after 14 years at Fellini, Tony and his wife Gordana moved to Brisbane and opened, Tartufo Ristorante and Wine Bar in the Emporium complex, Fortitude Valley.
Carlo, Anna (and now) Carmela continue to offer the best Italian cuisine on the Gold Coast and in late 2011 opened the Fellini Cocktail Bar connected to the restaurant, much to the delight of regular and new patrons alike.
CURRENT PERCUOCO VENTURES
PRODUCE Armando Extra Virgin Olive Oil Armando Marmalade, Pastificio Fellini Pasta & Pasta sauce