Giovanni Carleschiis the founder of Pastificio Carleschi (Past-if-each-yo Car-less-key), the first British Artisan dry pasta producer in the UK. He is originally from a small town in Italy called Castel Goffredo and migrated to the UK after completing higher education. Giovanni has been a part of the UK food industry on and off since 2006 where he started off as a private chef and cooking instructor. In 2008 he started to work at food stalls in local markets to promote his cooking class business, here he interacted with local farmers and food vendors which sparked the idea to make traditional Italian dishes using British ingredients. A few years later he opened his company Seriously Italian before launching Pastificio Carleschi in 2019.
Tell us about your journey to sustainability
Sustainability is a very broad term that not only involves being environmentally conscious but socially and economically sustainable as well. Sustainability is at the heart of every decision made from the methods of production chosen, the type of packaging used, the conditions of the working environment, flexibility given to workers, etc.
His interest in sustainability started in 1995 whilst at university studying political economics. He started working with a group that focused on corporate social responsibility which exposed him to the notion that a business should be good for both the environment and society whilst still being financially viable. During this time he attended a UNESCO conference in Stockholm which led to an exciting international project revolving around sustainability.
His academic background meant that Giovanni was equipped with valuable knowledge that allowed him to be sustainable in all his endeavours, from being a private chef to running his own pasta production business. This has allowed him to create quintessential pasta products - organic, using British ingredients in a UK factory that uses 100% green energy and traditional artisan methods by expert pasta makers.
How did you come up with the idea of starting Pastificio Carleschi?
Giovanni states that culture had a huge part in the way he created his sustainable business. His Italian perspective on what food to produce, the standard of quality that is acceptable, etc. So in 2013 he wondered why all dry pasta came from Italy when there were amazing grains and flours of exceptional quality available in the UK? From then on he worked tirelessly to create premium quality dry pasta from British stoneground spelt - with total traceability and lowest possible food miles. It then took 6 years of experimenting and refining to perfect the artisan method of making pasta with British grains before he opened Pastificio Carleschi.
The pasta he makes is a highly cultural product (artisan pasta) that has been adapted to reflect his current reality of living in the UK (using British heritage grains) - he believes that this blending of culture can create something better than ever before. Giovanni strongly believes that it is his duty to keep his Italian culture alive and going - to uphold traditions and pass them onto the next generations to come. Food is a big part of Italian culture and he is happy to be able to keep these traditions alive and share them with people in the UK. He chose to produce dry pasta specifically because it would be a challenging and new endeavour as using British flour to make artisan pasta had never been done before.
What's your biggest inspiration for starting the business
Giovanni is excited about the endless possibilities to create a new product because of shifts in the farming industry. Some examples include how more and more farmers are starting to use regenerative farming methods, farmers are starting to grow durum wheat in the UK as well as a variety of ancient grains that had been formerly neglected and forgotten - these are all considered new opportunities for pasta making in the UK which both inspires and motivates Giovanni as he believes that he can enrich what he does and make it better. So ultimately his mission is to bring these exciting products to fruition as they haven’t been done before.
What's your vision for the business and yourself?
In a few years Gioavnni hopes that his business will have a new range of products available, much more than the 9 currently provided. He also wishes to be a more established brand that has more scope, more people on the team and a larger production operation.