If I could write every other word as *giggles* into this interview, it would only half justify how funny Gino D'acampo is in real life. We first met on the set of ITV 'This Morning', and since then he's kept me in fits of giggles. With a brash, frank and extremely honest approach to life (and my questions), this has to be one of my favourite chats over coffee so far. As a well known and loved face of national TV, Gino D'acampo is a heartthrob hottie most women would pay to get into their kitchens. With me, Gino discusses what to cook, or more to the point what NOT to cook as a romantic dinner, why he thinks aphrodisiacs are complete bollox and why a fried egg on toast should still keep a lady in the bed. As you'll soon see, I was obviously in an argumentative mood this particular morning, note to self, tiramisu does not constitute 'baking'. Thanks Gino...
'Italian home baking' is a collection of all things we bake in Italy. Pizzas, biscuits to bread to pasta bake...it teaches you how to make all the lovely things from Italy, all the Italian biscuits, lasagne, we do vegetarian options...
What about tiramisu?
No..that is not baking!
Yes it is?
No, this book is about BAKING, anything you have to put in the oven...!
Yes, but you have to put that in the oven...the spongey bit...
NO you don't!!! it is more like a biscuit, already done.
Fine, I'm not going to argue with you about cooking (even though I just have) as I haven't got a clue myself. Are your recipes all 'family' recipes that have been passed down?
No, no no. 30 or 40% have been passed down from my grandfather, the rest are recipes I've found on the way, or developed myself over the years. You need to try them yourself to know that they work, so I make them up myself and test and try until perfect.
When did you discover your talent for cooking?
I was about 8, or 9 years old. Very very early. I remember I always found it very fascinating; putting ingredients together. My grandfather used to be a Chef, so spent a lot of time in the kitchen with him and watching him and I found it all very interesting.
Do you always enjoy it or would you prefer someone else to take to the kitchen for a change?
If I want to relax, I will cook. But if I want to enjoy the evening, I'll probably get someone else to do it. I do love the act of cooking though.
What is your favourite English meal?
Pies...I like pies! Steak and kidney pies, mash and gravy all stuff like that..I love all pies.
I actually hate pies...
I love them!
I hate pies, steak and kidney especially is disgusting...it tastes like..
I like those cheese puffs. Like those little cheesy puffs. Like wotsits too, I love wotsits and cheesy puffs. I enjoy just sitting on the sofa and eat a bag of cheesy puffs.
Do you know how fattening they are?
I don't care!
You should do...weight will start catching up with you soon Gino. Does being a Chef force you to avoid takeaways and junk food?
No, absolutely not. I do like takeaways, not all the time though. I don't do the big chains though cos they're crap, but I'll do a proper burger and chips at a nice place. I like Chinese, Indian, I do all of that, but very rarely...once in a few months or something like that. If I got a takeaway, it means I am probably too drunk to cook or can't be bothered so I will eat anything that is put in front of me.
You appeared on Michel Buble's 'Home for Christmas' TV show. What is Buble like in real life?
He is great, just great. Very charming and very down to earth. I actually knew him before the show, not many people know he is very funny and has a very dirty sense of humour.
Yes, like you do! Do you feel that being famous has had a positive or negative impact on your personal life?
I don't think that I am famous... (You are). People recognise me from cooking I guess. I guess it's positive because its nice to be recognised for what you do, people appreciate what you do. But you very rarely see me in papers and in magazines or out at these parties, (why not?) I don't go to places where people like to be seen, because I don't like the overwhelming attention of people, I'd rather go down the pub and be with the boys, chat with the boys and drink Guinness
You and flipping Guinness...
Yes I love Guinness!!
I know that's all I bloody hear about on your twitter, 'drinking a pint of Guinness, here's a photo of my Guinness' etc etc!!!! So, moving on, how do you feel knowing the nation's women adore you?
They don't adore me, they adore the food. (They do Gino!) You know what, it's a very nice thing. Very flattered. If I can inspire anyone to get into the kitchen and cook, I don't care how I do it...as long as I do it!
Talk to me about the combination of food and sex?
Combination of food and sex...is there a combination of food and sex?
Well yes, I think so...have you never combined the two..somehow? Maybe like, strawberries or something?
You know what, I really believe that is a myth. (really?) Yes, somebody made that up.
Well its two major things we're designed to enjoy, we enjoy food and we enjoy sex...
Yes but would you do the two at the same time? I doubt it. I could think of nothing worse than having a spaghetti carbonara then having sex.
I mean it more like, whipped cream or chocolate spread.
Ahh but listen, you can take those things and do whatever you want, if you wanna play with spread or cream or whatever turns you on, yeah but if we're talking about serious food? That's nothing to do with sex. But it can help you though! It can help towards something, if you cook a nice meal and it can help you to score points, but I don't think you can mix the two together!
What foods are the best aphrodisiacs?
Again, many people have said lobsters, strawberries, oysters are foods that turn you on...is it??
I don't know, is it? ...I thought you'd know!! Do you eat a lobster and then want sex?
No!! Noooo. I think it is a myth, again, it is something people say, but is it technically or physically true? I don't think it is a particular food that is an aphrodisiac, but the action of coaching and being satisfied when you eat. You can have a spoon full of chocolate and think, wow, and get excited about it, but doesn't mean it is actually an aphrodisiac. I don't think so.
I actually agree with you on this one. So what do you cook when you plan a romantic dinner?
If I plan a romantic dinner, I don't cook anything too complicated. Because I don't believe a romantic dinner should be about the food. I don't believe that. It should be about the person your having dinner with, (awe you're so romantic!) People often come to me with this question, what do I prepare...my answer is always the same = fried egg on toast and straight to bed. Why the fuck would I want to waste my time to go through all this cooking and wining and dining when we both know what we want, so whatever it is, just get on with it!!!
But you of all people should know how to cook something really yummy and really quickly. If you cooked me a fried egg on toast...I'd leave...
No you wouldn't.
I fucking would.
You wouldn't. Hey, dinner isn't about the food, its about the experience of two people together. Of course if you can make something sensational, great, but don't stress. I would say, don't stress out about it. It's not about the pasta and the sauce, but the two people together.
I like that opinion, I didn't think you'd say that but I like it. You've been with your wife now for 17 years, do you have any pearls of wisdom for my readers for a happy and long lasting relationship?
Yes, you're gonna have to keep secrets.
Really???? Gino I think people aren't going to like that!
You need to keep secrets and you need to allow the partner to discover new things every single day. If you show all the cards straight away, it's game over.
But that goes against what most people believe about marriage, in that you should always be open and share everything together...
Why? Open relationship? That's bollox. As soon as you open the relationship you become like brothers and sisters, there is nothing more exciting left there. A secret doesn't have to be a bad thing, it can be good. Like if you discover something new you like, keep it and then share it when you feel like it and they are like, 'oh I didn't know that about you' and it keeps things new and fresh. Once interest is gone, it's over. There is nothing else to move forward with. Patience is also required for a long relationship, you have to be patient.
Patience? Shit that's me out then. So do you miss living in Italy?
Yes!! Yes yes. I've been here in England for 17 years now. I miss Italy for the ingredients in food, and the lifestyle mainly. The siesta. Although I don't really like the hot weather, I'd rather be a bit cold than too hot.
Do you prefer British or Italian women?
I prefer a British woman. The problem with Italian women is they think too much of themselves. When I go to Italy I get really annoyed because, I talk to everybody over here, women and men, I'm always communicating with people. When I'm in England talking to women it is very easy, in Italy if you do that the women automatically assume you want to marry them or have sex with them. I'm like come on! A man and a woman can have a talk and a drink without wanting sex with each other.
Well, when I used to visit my Dad in Italy, I do have to say the Italian women are all beautiful though...
There is no doubt about it they're beautiful, but there are a lot of really beautiful British girls around too.
You know what, I don't really have a 'type' of woman I find attractive. I find WOMEN attractive. The actual 'woman' is attractive. There is an attraction in every woman. If she's shy, I like it, if she's super woman, I like that too...if she's blonde, red or brunette, it doesn't really matter. There is no problem with weight, although I don't like very skinny girls, I don't like super skinny girls. It's not my thing. I like curves. I do like it when women have a character. When they're forward and they know what they want, it's good so you know where you stand.
And finally, back to original question, where can you buy the book 'Italian Home Baking'?
Everywhere! Supermarkets, Amazon, everywhere. I'm very lucky and my book is available everywhere.
To purchase his cooking book via Amazon, click here