REGULAR patrons at the Cobb and Co Markets would have noticed the absence of pasta master Angelo Guiso - one of the gathering's boldest personalities.

For more than 10 years he has built a loyal following of customers hooked on his homemade pasta and Italian sauces.

However, a planned family trip in February to the Italian island of Sardinia was unexpectedly extended after the country went into a severe COVID-19 lockdown.

Thousands of Italians perished in the north of the country, but Mr Guiso was safe in his island paradise.

"I rang Canberra and they said to me, 'Where are you Angelo?'"

"I said, 'I am in the Mediterranean Sea in a residential estate, 3km from the beach near a beautiful granite mountain and we are partying three or four times a week'."

"The diplomat joked, 'Don't come back until November'."




Angelo Guiso with his beetroot fettuccine at the Toowoomba Farmers Market. Saturday, June 27\, 2020.
Angelo Guiso with his beetroot fettuccine at the Toowoomba Farmers Market. Saturday, June 27\, 2020.

The authorities grounded all flights on and off the island and closed the port to none-essential shipping.

Mr Guiso spent his days taking long walks, gardening with his sister and dancing.

On May 22, about four and half months after the virus hit, Mr Guiso caught a flight to Australia, but before he could come home he had to quarantine.

"For two weeks I was imprisoned in the Marriott Hotel in Perth," he said.

"I had a 2m TV, so I would put on the disco music and dance around my room.

"I lost 5kg in two weeks."

Dancing contributed to part of the weight loss while the rest came from a self-imposed diet.

"The food was miserable," Mr Guiso said

"I would not give to a dog food like that."

During his stay Mr Guiso received daily check-ups that included a psychologist visit.

Like with all things in life Mr Guiso's jovial attitude carried him through.

"They wanted to make sure I wasn't going to kill myself or someone one else," he said.

"The called me one day and I said, 'I have a problem and you've got to give me two nurses, you see I am very lonely' and the psychologist was in stitches."

Originally published as Adored chef recounts five months trapped in Italian lockdown