Gino D’Acampo’s Italian cooking tips
Charismatic celebrity chef, TV personality and best-selling author Gino D’Acampo is set to get up close and personal with his fans later this year, as he embarks on a tour of the UK with his live stage show.
Gino – who regularly appears on ITV’s This Morning and was voted King of the Jungle in the ninth series of I’m a Celebrity – will take the audience on a journey through Italy, demonstrating how to cook some of his favourite dishes from Gino’s Italian Escape – a third series of which will be on our screens later this year. He also plans to put audience members through their paces as selected fans are invited to join him on stage.
We caught up with the fun-loving chef for his top tips on whipping up the perfect Italian feast …
How did growing up in Italy influence your love of cooking?
My mother had ten sisters and a brother, so everybody was cooking all the time, and we would have big family meals together, enjoying traditional Italian food. However, it was my grandfather who really got me into cooking. He was a chef and owned a restaurant – I began to work with him when I was about 12, and I always found it fascinating that this guy could take three or four ingredients, put them together and come up with something fantastic.
What do you love most about Italian food?
I think it’s the simplicity of flavours. It’s simple, delicate, fresh and colourful –everything people like. It’s very versatile as well. Italian food is difficult to get bored of!
What are some of the best areas of Italy for cuisine?
The great thing about Italy is it’s divided into 21 regions and every region is like being in a completely different nation – I don’t think I’ve ever been in any part of Italy where the food hasn’t been good! If I had to choose, I would probably go with the south of Italy, as I love seafood. One of my favourite dishes is pasta with clams and mussels – very simple but full of flavour.
What is your signature dish?
I’ve got about 20 or 30 dishes that I make at home, and my wife and kids seem to enjoy them all. We put them in a rota and every day is something different!
What are some of the staple ingredients of Italian cooking we should always keep in our kitchens?
A good olive oil, a nice bottle of balsamic vinegar and a packet of pasta. And there should always be Parmesan cheese in the fridge!
What is your must-try dish for people new to Italian cooking?
I would recommend trying something with pasta first – it’s extremely easy to prepare. Try something simple like Arrabiata. Get a bit of garlic, olive oil, chilli and a tin of chopped tomatoes, heat for about 15 minutes, cook the pasta nice and al dente, then mix together. Job done.
A lot of people believe they can’t cook – what are your essential rules for perfect cooking every time?
Everybody can cook; it’s just a question of putting in an effort. It would be very unfair if God didn’t give us that ability, because we need food to survive! It’s like anything else in life – if you get your head around it anybody can do it. A lot of people enter the kitchen and panic. What they should do is put a bit of music on, maybe pour themselves a nice glass of wine, and just relax and follow the recipe. You may get it wrong once, maybe the second time, but I guarantee the third time is going to be fine.
What can people expect from your new live tour?
At the moment I’m filming the third series of Gino’s Italian Escape, so I thought why don’t I put all these recipes and my journey and everything I’ve learnt into a tour, to tell people face to face all the experiences I’ve had over the last three years. There’s going to be a lot of food, I’m going to bring people onstage to cook with me, and I will do a Q&A during the demonstrations. I can’t wait to meet audiences – that’s the time for me to interact with them, so I’m really looking forward to that. It’s time for me to learn about them and them to learn more about me. It will be a fantastico evening!
Tickets to Gino’s Italian Escape tour are £25 per person and are on sale now. Meet and greet packages are also available, which include best seats in the house, a chance to meet Gino and a signed copy of his new book.
Visit www.killilive.com for all details.
The Gino’s Italian Escape tour is presented by Shiver, a part of ITV Studios and Killilive.
- 29 October – BATH Forum
- 30 October – YORK Barbican
- 1 November – SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion
- 2 November – CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
- 3 November – WOLVERHAMPTON – Civic Hall
- 5 November – ABERDEEN Music Hall
- 6 November – NEWCASTLE Tyne Theatre
- 7 November – IPSWICH Regent
- 8 November – MARGATE Winter Gardens