Leonardo da Vinci portrait recreated with Italian ingredients to mark new menu

By Rebecca Stanley | Dining out | Published:

Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portrait has been reimagined with classic Italian ingredients to mark the launch of a new menu at Bella Italia.

The portrait

The food masterpiece was commissioned by the Italian restaurant chain, with establishments across the Midlands and Shropshire, to celebrate Da Vinci’s life and work who died 500 years ago this month, and mark the launch of their new menu, available in restaurants since May 8.

The portrait was inspired by Da Vinci’s passion for both art and invention, particularly in the world of food and kitchen design innovation, including his creation of a ‘spaghetti-making machine’ and an automated spit that roasted meat.

Food artist Carl Warner and his team creating the piece

Food artist Carl Warner was the mastermind behind the work of art, which took over 20 hours for Carl and his team to design and create.

The edible artwork was crafted from a range of Italian food favourites including six different Italian pastas, three cured and sliced meats, two artisan breads, mozzarella and a handful of olives.

The ingredients used to create the work of art

The portrait included a hat and coat made of two artisan breads; eyes made of mozzarella and olives, with fusilli, rigatoni and conchiglione pasta details; Parma ham lips; chicken breast and fettucine pasta face and chicken wing nose; and two types of spaghetti for the beard.

Carl Warner, food artist, said: “I was thrilled when Bella Italia asked me to take on this challenge – the abundance of fresh, beautiful ingredients from the new menu gave me a great ‘palette’ to work from when reimagining the classic artwork by one of the great Italian masters.


Food artist Carl Warner and his team creating the piece

"The contrasting textures and shapes of the different varieties of pasta worked particularly well when defining the details in the face of Da Vinci, which I just hope he would have enjoyed.”

The new menu is now available in all Bella Italia restaurants nationwide. It introduces a range of over 30 new dishes including a traditional Cacio e Pepe, Gamberoni pizza, dough bites and a brand-new range of desserts.

Food artist Carl Warner and his team creating the piece

Célia Pronto, chief customer officer from Bella Italia, said: “Given our expertise in pasta, and with our new menu launch coinciding with the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci’s death, it felt like the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Italian genius in the way we know best – with delicious Italian pasta and produce. We’re delighted with the finished product.”

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me:


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