TV chef Gino D’Acampo on Sardinia, Sophia Loren and scary salads

by John Koski

Gino D’Acampo’ s advice to his teenage self? ‘Stop that immediately and get back to work’


Guilty pleasure? I can’t resist Wotsits or Kinder Eggs.


Where is home? Hertfordshire and Sardinia. I love them both, but the weather is definitely better in Sardinia.


Career plan B? I think I’m already up to plan F, so plan G would be to go into acting.


Who would play you in a movie of your life? I would! Plan G, remember. But if I’m not available I guess it could be Meryl Streep – she’s good at accents.


Biggest bugbear? Lateness, even when it’s my own.


As a child you wanted to be… A dentist or a doctor. I always wanted to wear a white coat.


Earliest memory? Watching my grandfather cooking at his restaurant in Naples – that’s where it all began.


Secret to a happy relationship? You have to like and respect each other.


Your best quality? Modesty. In fact, I’m probably better at being modest than anyone I know!


And your worst? I’m not the most patient of people and want everything to be immediate.


Last meal on earth? A perfect bucatini carbonara followed by a cooling limoncello granita, because it’s probably going to be hot where I’m going.


Dream dinner-party guests? Jesus Christ, Noel Gallagher, Nigella Lawson and Rod Stewart – that should be an entertaining mix.


Advice to teenage self? Stop that immediately and get back to work.


Cat or dog? Both, if it’s raining heavily.


On a day off we’d find you… I don’t really have days off until I get away to Sardinia, then you’ll find me lazing around on my boat.


Starstruck moment? Meeting Sophia Loren at the launch of a cruise ship – she’s a true Italian icon.


Big break? Professionally, it was appearing on the UKTV Good Food channel to talk about olive oil. Personally, it was meeting my wife Jessica, when we were both working at a restaurant in Marbella.


Career highlight? Working with the Muppets on ITV’s This Morning in 2012 was a fantastic experience.


Favourite tipple? A pint of Guinness in a Dublin bar.


Hangover cure? I don’t have one – I was hoping you could recommend something.


What did you have for breakfast today? An espresso, followed by another espresso – after all, I am Italian.


Secret skill? I can assure you that if I have a skill I make sure everybody knows about it!


One thing that would make your life better? Less traffic – I spend a lot of time on the move.


Philosophy? If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. Our mistakes make us who we are.


Worst job you’ve ever done? Cleaning pizza ovens when I was starting out in catering.


Where would you time travel to? Renaissance Italy must have been amazing – imagine watching Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


First record you bought? The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.


Most extravagant purchase? My Azimut Atlantis 55 power boat. They say you never regret your extravagances, and they’re right.


Biggest fear? Cucumbers – I don’t like them and don’t want to find one in my salad.


Celebrity crush? Mary Berry.


Happiness is… Christmas with the family in Sardinia.

Gino’s new book, Gino’s Healthy Italian for Less, is published by Hodder & Stoughton, price £20. To order a copy for £15, go to or call 0844 571 0640; offer valid until 4 June, free p&p on orders over £15