Gino D’Acampo is a busy man.
“I love Cardiff. Do you know any sites here where I can open one of my new restaurants?” he asks.
Now an internationally-recognised chef and TV celebrity, Gino’s hectic schedule is a distant cry from his quiet childhood in Italy. Gino was born into a large family in Napoli. The food they ate was very traditional – simple recipes based on fresh and healthy fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.
“I have great memories of my upbringing. My mother and my grandmother were always in the kitchen and always let me help with the cooking from the age of about 7 or 8. My grandfather said that a good recipe doesn’t need many ingredients because if the ingredients are good quality and full of flavour, why do you have to cover up or change their taste?”
Gino went to catering college at the at the age of 18, and in 1995, aged 19, moved to London to work in The Orchard Restaurant in London, followed by the Cambio Restaurant in Guildford.
“London for me is the food capital of the world. The variety of restaurants and chefs there means that it really is the place to be if you want to be a chef. That’s why I came to the UK in the first place.”
Gino’s original intentions weren’t to be what he has become today though:
“I didn’t set to become famous – absolutely not. I feel at times as if I’m living someone else’s dream. I did set out to do things on my own terms though and I think that’s something that has happened. Nothing I do is false, I’m always myself and it works for me as I have a lot of fun.
“My cooking is designed to inspire other people to cook. It’s not difficult – it’s tasty and colourful. As a chef, it’s easy to over-complicate things but I’ve got better things to be doing in life than that. I want my cooking to be quick and easy and when a total stranger comes up to me and says that they’ve cooked something, or gotten involved in food because of me, that’s when I know I’ve done my job properly. That’s my favourite part of the job.”
Gino is coming to Cardiff on May 1st when he brings his show Gino’s Italian Escape Live to St David’s Hall.
“It’ll be a proper night out. It’ll be like going down the pub with me. It’s not entirely 100% prepared so almost anything could happen. There will be Q&As, music, lots of fun – the Celebrity Juice Gino will be there so if I wouldn’t bring your 10 year old kids. I will also be bringing people up on stage to try out my food and to do some tasting. Not loads though as I can’t cook for 1,000 people.”
Gino’s new book will be available to buy at the show, as well as other merchandise.
Gino is also on the lookout for available local sites for his new chain of restaurants.
“I’ve been to Cardiff many times – it’s a place I really, really love. I already have restaurants open around the UK but would love to have one here in Cardiff. If you know anyone who can help me find a site, let me know!”
“After my tour, I’m off filming my new TV show for 35 days straight. I’m a busy man but like I said, it works for me.”
Gino’s Italian Escape Live takes place at St David’s Hall on 1st May 2017. Ticket are available online here or you can call the Box Office on 029 2087 8444