Stephanie Mackentyre meets Chef, TV Personality and best-selling author Gino D’ Acampo…
Currently on tour in the UK with a live stage show, it blends Gino’s love of Italy, some delicious signature dishes and some audience participation in a typically lively theatre show. The fun-loving chef will take his audience on a journey through Italy, demonstrating how to cook some of his favourite dishes from his popular series, Gino’s Italian Escape – a third series of which will be on our screens this autumn. He also plans to put audience members through their paces as selected fans are invited to join him on stage. One thing is for sure with Gino: you can expect the unexpected! He comes to the Regent Theatre in Ipswich on Saturday 7th November as part of this tour.
Gino has to be the busiest man I’ve ever interviewed. Not only is he still cooking and appearing on TV, whether in food-related programmes, or as a guest of various entertainment shows, Gino has also opened over 50 restaurants, runs GinotoGo delivering food to offices in London, has written 13 cookery books and he co-owns Bontà Italia Ltd – a supplier of Italian ingredients to major retailers. I asked Gino how he managed to fit it all in. “I like early mornings and late nights. When I say that I mean 7am and I finish around 11pm. Sometimes I’m writing, and sometimes I’m developing dishes in my kitchen and sometimes I’m going to the restaurants.” I wondered which of all is the most enjoyable? “There is an element of enjoyment in all of them but I think the most is when I’m in the restaurants.” I asked him how much time he actually finds to cook these days? “In the last 10 years I’m not in my kitchen as much as I’d like to be, but every day there is still cooking. I have a development kitchen in my office; even if it’s cooking a poached egg to perfection, I still do it. For me if I haven’t cooked that day I feel I haven’t done my job properly.” With 13 cook books to his name this month he launches number 14 – Islands in the Sun – Gino’s Italian Escape. The book runs in parallel with this latest tour and his TV show of the same name. “This book is Gino’s Islands in the Sun as we went to film the series from the beautiful Islands of Sicily and Sardinia. It’s beautiful there so there are some stunning shots of the scenery to enjoy too.”
Gino has been reported as saying once he’d opened 50 restaurants he’d stop. However, with another just opened in Euston and a further one opening in Manchester Corn Exchange in the first week of December it brings his total to 51. “Why would we stop now? I’m now starting to have fun! I have a business partner, Stephen Walker. I thought I was passionate about food, but he literally thinks about food in his sleep! The first 10 were the hardest. Now we have Gino’s Pasta Bars and Gino’s Restaurants, which we regularly go to visit. Whilst there we do some cooking and drinking and play some music and chat with the guests and sometimes you’ll see me dancing on the tables depending on how much Prosecco I’ve drunk! It’s hard but I think I’m enjoying it more as I get older.”Buy Now