TELEVISION chef Antonio Carluccio has spoken of his excitement over bringing his branded restaurant chain to York as he opens the new Harrogate eatery.

The Italian cook officially opened Carluccio's in Harrogate's Station Square this week alongside the restaurant chain's chief executive Simon Kossoff.

Ahead of the opening, Carluccio's confirmed plans to open a concession restaurant in York within the city's Fenwick department store.

Mr Kossoff, who is an alumni of the University of York having studied economics, said: "We have a very long standing relationship with the Fenwick group.

"We opened the first concession in Fenwick in Bond Street in 2000.

"Fenwick is the only store we have concessions with, it's a good family run business, and York will be our fifth Carluccio's in Fenwick.

"We have wanted to be in York for a long time for similar reasons to coming to Harrogate, its a vibrant, popular place. York has its students, and in both cases there's a healthy tourist and retail scene."

The Harrogate opening marked the end of a planning battle with Harrogate Borough Council, which originally refused permission to turn a former opticians in the town into a restaurant on the grounds of loss of retail space.

Carluccio's took the decision to appeal, and won.

Mr Kossoff said: "What has been really brilliant is the support we have had from everyone in Harrogate.

"The council's planning officers were worried about more restaurants in a retail area, and as a result we had a struggle with planning. We had however fantastic support from other retailers and people in Harrogate who wanted us to come."

The restaurant has created between 30 and 40 jobs, with a similar number set to be created when the brand opens in York.

Antionio Carluccio, who no longer owns the 88-strong restaurant chain, but plays a consultancy role in the business, said: "Every chain or group makes business for the money. Yes we do that but I believe we do that but with a difference around the importance of food.

"The company has changed ownership twice, but still has the same management team in place, so the team know what Carluccio's is all about.

"I am very interested, and I take it very seriously. It's my name and I want it to be honoured in a sense of the quality of the product.

"People in the area deserve to have Carluccio's as an attraction, in Harrogate and in York. It's a very special place, it's not elitist, it's for every day people that appreciate good food."

"It doesn't matter how many restaurants you have, whether its a single restaurant with a singe man, or lots of restaurants they have to have quality good food and it will be good to bring that to York."