AC Butchery founder Carlo Colaiacomo dies

Carlo Colaiacomo from AC Butchery has died, aged 74.
Carlo Colaiacomo from AC Butchery has died, aged 74. Photo: Marco Del Grande

The founder of Leichhardt's famed AC Butchery, Carlo Colaiacomo, has died just eight weeks after the death of his wife, Angela, in early December.

"That's the A and the C in AC Butchery," says the couple's daughter, Licia Colaiacomo-Curro.

The celebrity butcher, inducted into the Sydney Food Hall of Fame in 2003 for elevating his craft, suffered a heart attack. "He took Mum's death really hard. Ultimately it was a broken heart," Colaiacomo-Curro says of her 74-year-old father.

Carlo Colaiacomo didn't think it was a butcher shop unless you were hitting your head on something hanging.
Carlo Colaiacomo didn't think it was a butcher shop unless you were hitting your head on something hanging. Photo: Steven Siewert

Colaiacomo changed the Sydney food scene, championing the production of local prosciutto and making his shop a pit stop for a who's who of the food world, chefs Tetsuya Wakuda and Neil Perry among them.

"He didn't think it was a butcher shop unless you were hitting your head on something hanging," his daughter remembers.

Born in Rome, the young butcher and his friends made a pact one day to meet by the docks and get on the first ship departing, regardless of where it was headed.

"He was the only one who showed up. He always said he landed in Australia in 1970 with $20 in his pocket and a carton of smokes," Colaiacomo-Curro says.

At its peak, there were AC Butchery outlets in Surry Hills, Rose Bay and the Sydney CBD.

With that empire now pruned back to the Leichhardt HQ, Colaiacomo-Curro says the name will continue. "My brother is running the store," she says.