Gino on his new ITV travelogue: 'The D’Acampos HATE activities!'
Gino D’Acampo on exploring his beloved Italy with his family — just don't mention kayaking or sheep-herding!
We’re used to seeing TV personality Gino D’Acampo galavanting the globe with his mates Gordon Ramsay and Fred SirieIx in ITV’s Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip.
Now, however, Gino’s got some new travel companions as he takes his wife Jessica and their three children to explore the hidden gems of Sardinia and the very best of Southern Italy in Gino’s Italian Family Adventure.
The seven-part series, sees the Family Fortunes host and This Morning resident chef take Jessica and their British born and bred bambinos — 19-year-old son Luciano, 16-year-old son Rocco and nine-year-old daughter Mia — on a journey to discover their Italian roots and where his passion for food began, making memories and, of course, lots of delicious dishes, along the way.
Gino, 45, tells us more…
How did the idea of doing a show with your family come about?
"I’ve been wanting to do it for the last two or three years but I never had the guts to ask them. But after the lockdown, I thought: ‘They’re gonna be desperate to go somewhere and to experience something different’. So as soon as the restrictions lifted, I asked them, and they immediately said "yes". So if there’s one thing I can thank Covid for it’s that it gave us the opportunity to do this."
In the first episode, you all go kayaking around the coastal limestone caves of Eastern Sardinia. Was it fun?
"It was not fun at all! It’s important for everyone to know the D’Acampos HATE doing anything that requires our bodies to move — we enjoy cooking together but don’t ask us to do any activities! Any kind of walking, exploring or camping, forget it. We are the worst family for that. We made it look fun but, off-camera, my family were saying: ‘When the hell are we going to finish this?’"
Afterward, in the mountains, you take your family to round up some sheep…
"That, again, is a typical thing you do for television but there’s no way I’d ever ask my family in normal life: ‘Shall we go and round up some sheep?’ I don’t think we were even dressed appropriately for something like that. It proved to be a very bad idea!"
Each episode focuses on a different family member, was it nice having that one-to-one time?
"That was the best thing ever because, when you’re surrounded by my family, there’s too many; three kids, the wife and my mother-in-law, so you kind of jump quickly from one person to another. When I had three or four days with just Rocco or Mia, it was special. It’s something we don’t do often enough, so I was very happy to do that."
In episode two, you take Rocco to your hometown of Naples, a place he says really captures your personality…
"It was very important for us to go to Naples. I wanted my kids to understand the mentality of the crazy Italian; why sometimes I’m loud or I don’t follow the rules or I do things the other way round. It’s important for them to understand where I grew up. Naples tells you everything you need to know about anyone who’s lived in Naples for all the years I have. It’s dysfunctionally beautiful."
It’s quite an emotional episode for you as well, isn’t it?
"It is. I went to see my dad’s grave for the first time. It was a good experience for me. I’ve wanted to go there for a long time, I just didn’t want to go by myself. So I thought if Rocco was there, we should take the opportunity to do it. With Rocco there, you have the four generations, because my grandfather is buried there, too."
What was the most memorable part of the series to film for you?
"Luciano and I went fishing in Calabria in the south of Italy. We spent the day on the boat with all the fisherman, who were very poor. It was good for me to talk to Luciano and remind him that, in life, you don’t need lots of expensive clothes or holidays. Many of the fishermen didn’t even have mobile phones. That was a really nice moment for us."
What’s your favourite dish from the series?
"Ooh, that’s a difficult question. I’d be happy to tell you who’s my favourite child, but it’s difficult to tell you what’s my favourite recipe! I remember making swordfish in gremolata sauce with Luciano, after we’d just fished the swordfish. With Mia, we made spaghetti with clams, in Porto Chervo in Sardinia. With Rocco on the Bay of Torre del Greco, where I was born, we made a risotto with mussels, prawns and lemon zest. Then we visited Naples football stadium, where Maradona used to play, and made meatballs on the pitch. And, with Jessica, I made chicken in marsala wine and cream, her favourite dish, and a chocolate cheesecake."
You and Jessica have been married 20 years. What’s your recipe for a lasting relationship — and are you romantic?
"The secret is very simple: you live a life together, and you have a separate life as well. You should spend 50 per cent of the day together but the other 50 has to be apart — otherwise you’d go mental! I’m the least romantic person. I don’t buy flowers, I don’t buy chocolates, I don’t write Valentine’s cards, birthday cards or Christmas cards but I do many other things. I always wash Jess’s car at the weekends, I always remember to charge the electric toothbrush and I always make the coffee in the morning. Is that romantic?"
How did making this series compare to your travelogues with Gordon and Fred?
"In a way, it’s exactly the same, because you’re having fun on the left and fun on the right. But with Gordon and Fred I will have a different kind of fun; fun that usually starts at 10 o’clock at night and ends at 3 o’clock in the morning!"
There’s a cookbook to accompany this series. Will Gordon and Fred get a signed copy for Christmas?
"Oh yes, for Christmas everybody's going to get a cookbook, signed by me, with a lovely message. You know how much I hate to do cards, but if it’s the cookbook, I’ll sign it happily."
Gino’s Italian Family Adventure starts Monday Nov. 8 at 8pm on ITV.
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With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!