OUR new columnist, Lee Conetta, is Glasgow food royalty, with many years experience helping to run one of the city’s biggest restaurant groups. Each fortnight in Times Out, she will share memories of her life less ordinary, and the food she loves to cook. This week, Mrs Conetta recalls a remarkable meeting and introduces us to a simple but tasty Tuscan classic.

IT WAS the late 80s and my husband Joe and I were staying in Umbria in Italy on holiday.

We heard that Lamborghini’s estate, La Fiorita, was nearby so we set off with an English couple we had got to know during our stay. First, we looked at the tractors, then the cars…well, by this time I was getting hungry.

I spotted an elderly gentleman wearing a straw hat, and decided to ask him if he could recommend a good Italian restaurant in town.

He asked me what kind of food I liked, which led to half an hour exchanging recipes, old and new, with much enthusiasm on both sides.

This friendly gentleman told me he was opening a small hotel and restaurant and as I seemed to know about restaurants, would I go along and check out his kitchen equipment?

Glasgow restaurateur Lee Conetta at home near Lanark. The bottle presented by Mr Lamborghini. STY Pic Gordon Terris/Glasgow Times

Glasgow restaurateur Lee Conetta at home near Lanark. The bottle presented by Mr Lamborghini. STY Pic Gordon Terris/Glasgow Times

I was happy to oblige – a break from the tractors and cars – and found it to be state of the art, an absolutely beautiful and spotless kitchen.

We continued talking about food and restaurants, and he invited me into a small Lamborghini gift shop on the estate and asked me my name.

When I said, ‘Eleonora’, he promptly took down a magnum bottle of wine and wrote ‘To Eleonora from Ferrucio Lamborghini’ on it, and presented it to me.

I almost fainted.

I had just spent an hour exchanging mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes and discussing lots of different pastas, with Mr Lamborghini himself.

Just then my husband came back, and when I introduced him to Mr Lamborghini, he was surprised, to put it mildly.

They got talking - Lamborghini’s other passion was bullfighting, which he then went on to discuss enthusiastically with my husband. Most of his cars are named after bulls. A raging bull is the emblem of his company. The almost forgotten Islero was named after the Miura bull that killed the famed bullfighter Manolete in 1947. Other names were Diablo, Murcielago, Gallardo….

READ MORE: Cooking with Mrs Conetta - Beef braciole

Don Eduardo Miura, a renowned breeder of Spanish fighting bulls and Lamborghini became great friends.

It was an unexpected and lovely afternoon, and I still have that bottle of wine.


Tuscan Pork Chops

Serves 4


4 pork loin chops

Fennel seeds

Salt and pepper

Around two to three tablespoons of olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1 cup dry white wine


1 Score the chops in two or three places on each side.

2 Sprinkle with the fennel seeds and salt and pepper and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3 Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and then the chops. Cook over a moderate heat until brown on both sides.

4 Add the white wine and continue to cook until the chops are tender. Serve.