Gino D’Acampo is the TV’s most cheeky and infamous chef. He could also claim to be Britain’s most well-known Italian. 

Although he may have been living in the UK for a while (despite the second villa in his Sardinia vineyard), he still proudly wears the heritage of Sardinia with a smile, particularly when one of his lost in translation moments is on-air.

Gino is proudest of his heritage, culture, and language. This point is further emphasized by the fact that he gave his children Luciano and Rocco their names.

He says he taught his British wife Jessica Italian – and she, in turn, taught him English – when they started seeing each other, although, being Gino, he is rather risqué in his joking about this.

We met while I was 18 and were working in a spanish restaurant. I taught her Italian and she taught me English, but there were a lot of hand gestures to begin with – you, me, eat.’

He mimes a questionable gesture. “Once she asked me for a donut, and I thought that I wanted something entirely different.”

Gino D'Acampo with his son. He winces when his children mispronounce Italian words and wants them to learn now

Gino D’Acampo and his son. His son Gino D’Acampo, who sighs when his kids mispronounce Italian words.

They have been married for 27 years and it is clear that something worked.

With three kids – aged 19, 12, and 9 – one imagines that at home they must chat away in both languages? Er, no. Gino seems rather horrified by the reality – that his offspring do not speak Italian at all.

Gino, his new series Gino’s Italian Adventure (8pm ITV Mondays), features Gino with his kids, showing them how to make perfect bruschetta. Gino has a problem with one of his children mispronouncing the word. He uses a soft “ch” sound instead of correct pronunciation. He looks like he has been attacked.

Today, he admitted that “I get white whenever they mispronounce somethings.”

“I want my children to learn Italian. But it’s not happening.” My wife accuses me of speaking in Italian to my children since their childhood. But she also forgets that I worked 12 to 15 hours per day when I was younger.

He insists that it is not too late. “I’m pushing them to learn now. I said that I would pay to have lessons in Italian. Although my children aren’t able to speak Italian well, I don’t intend to let that stop me from being happy. They can do it if they have the time and resources. All they have to do is be open-minded and willing to learn.

Gino seems to be easing his own children into the limelight too. Luciano is already a part of the family business (he works with Gino in one of his restaurants)

Gino appears to ease his children into the spotlight too. Luciano already works in the family restaurant with Gino.

Interesting that the D’Acampos’ next generation are participating in dad’s shows is also interesting. Gino has done a lot of travel and food shows in the last few years. He also did a show with Gordon Ramsay (on Gino Gordon and Fred), and Fred Sirieix.

This is all quite incestuous. The last series was characterized by a lot of drama when Luciano went on a date to meet Gordon’s daughter Tilly. This could have made things more complicated. 

Luciano now has a girlfriend (‘And Tilly is busy with dancing,’ Gino states, alluding to her Strictly Come Dancing role). Is there any relief for all of us? Actually, it sounds like Gino wouldn’t have a problem with merging these two culinary families. 

“I have been friends with Gordon for nearly 22 years. He’s an amazing friend, and a wonderful human being. Our only disagreement is on work. His workaholic nature means he can’t comprehend how I could take six months off a year. But it would be a pleasure to be his…how do you say it… in law.’

Gino appears to also be helping his children get into the spotlight. Luciano works in the restaurant with Gino, but it was not easy for him to convince his children to let the cameras go along on their holiday.

They liked it! Although they will say they don’t want it, they are going to pretend that they did. It’s going to be broadcast on TV. They will be greeted by their friends with the words “we saw your face” They are confident and like me. It’s a great thing.

Gino D'Acampo attends the BRIT Awards 2015 at The O2 Arena on February 25, 2015 in London with his wife, Jessica (pictured)

Gino D’Acampo and Jessica attend the BRIT Awards 2015 at The O2 Arena in London on February 25, 2015.

He admits that his wife proved more difficult to persuade.

Every woman I know believes they appear too thin, or fat, in front of a camera. It’s a common refrain: “I’m too white, too red or too whatever.” This is normal. Jessica said ‘do we REALLY have to do it?However, Jessica wanted to take a vacation with me. And she enjoyed it.

The culinary travelogue format is one of TV’s stalwarts, and this show – dripping sunshine, as well as olive oil over basil – will be a popular addition to the Autumn schedules.

Over seven episodes, we cover much of Italy – and much of Gino’s early life. He visits his childhood home and other special spots with his kids. Usually, he ends up at a bakery counter or cheese shop. The children recreate the dishes that his mom used to cook and they also enjoy cooking on the beaches. Even his own parents are able to join him for a part of the adventure.

The non-food components are what have the most emotional impact. He breaks down when he takes Rocco to the grave of his father Ciro– who died in 2013, at the age of 60 – in his hometown of Torre del Greco, near Naples.

“It was probably the most emotion-filled thing that I have ever recorded,” he says, admitting it to being the first time that he saw his father’s grave. “I hadn’t been there.” Cemeteries don’t appeal to me. I do not like funerals. However, you attended your father’s funeral. He said, “Just barely.” I wasn’t in the funeral zone. I was away.

It is not difficult to see Gino’s past troubles. His troubled past is well documented. He served his sentence in prison for burglary, which was for breaking into Paul Young’s house. But by the end of his life, Gino said he had turned things around and that he’s thankful for his father seeing the beginnings to his media career.

“He was able to see my professional career grow. Although not at the same level as how it is now, he was there when I opened my first restaurant, first book, and first TV show. That was what made me the greatest. But he feels that he would have done more with his parents. Alba, his mum, also died at 60 in 2017. “I think that I never spent enough time with my family or phone enough. This is a common human regret. People assume someone they love will always be there. They aren’t, and then you realize that they’re not there.

Being a father and grandfather, he attributes his success to Jessica. They were working together in a Marco Pierre White restaurant in Spain and – once they’d got over the language hiccups – love blossomed.

Gino D'Acampo rustling up food on This Morning on 13th October 2020 (pictured)

Gino D’Acampo cooking up some food for This Morning, 13 October 2020 (pictured).

He does have six months off during the year, but he spends six months away from home. The rest of the time he travels for filming assignments and is rarely at home. He says Jessica is his mainstay.

She is the absolute boss in the family. Her ability to keep the family together makes her insanely organized. She is a total perfectionist when it comes to spending time with the kids.

Of course, she also takes care of Gino.

He admitted that “I am the worst.” “She is very strict with me.”

This series celebrates their 20th Wedding Anniversary with a romantic trip in Puglia. However, Gino shares his top tips on staying happy married. First, he says earnestly, when you eat garlic – as you will do, if you are married to an Italian chef – you must eat exactly the same amount as your partner. ‘Otherwise….trouble,’ he says.

Even more serious, he claims that the couple’s marriage survived because Gino let’s Gino be Gino. This is what does it mean? This is an example he gives: He’s been gone for five days for work and is currently out of his home.

“How many times have you spoken to your wife by phone?” He boasts that there have been none. “We just received the occasional thumbs up text. Is it all ok?”‘, ‘kids ok?’ But I don’t have to keep checking in with you and saying ‘I love, I love’ all the time.

He is very angry at his male friends, who feel the need for him to call home while he’s away. He says, “It’s insane.” “If I am in the bar, you can stop all your activities to call my wife and ask her whether the children are asleep. What is the fu …?? People do what they need to, not because it is their true desire.

“It’s not up to me to judge others’ relationships. But sometimes, I believe they do it simply because the wife desires it, for peace.

This is so odd. How odd.

‘Never. Zero pressure. Our lives are amazing together, but our individual lives can be just as exciting. I enjoy being on my own. We don’t have to pretend she has to call every night to say ‘I love’. She prefers being on her own.

He loves her. He clearly adores her – so much so, he says, that they don’t need to be joined at the hip.

“Because together we can be lovers, parents, friends, and best friends. If we don’t get along, then we have our separate lives. My hobbies are my own. I have my own friends. I have my own girl friends that I would like to speak to. There are my girls I love to go to the dinner table with. It’s no secret that I work in an environment where there are many women around me. It’s a good idea to have dinner with someone. My wife and her friends will be having dinner together, which might include boys.

Although he isn’t suggesting infidelities, the possibility of jealousy doesn’t seem to be high.

He triumphantly said, “No!” “If she were jealous, or I jealous of her it would make my job impossible.”

All of this is quite fascinating, but were they really destined to get married like that?

“I desired a relationship with a woman but not my entire life to be with her 24 hours per day. It was clear from the start that I believed I needed my own time. That is what I would like you to think. We can make it last our whole lives if we are together happy.

The old-fashioned recipe will not sound like a wife-at-home formula to others. He cooks when he is at home but does he share the chores like cleaning? Gino is not in Marigolds, I find it hard to believe.

Although he claims he is assigned ironing duties, besides that, he doesn’t know. “My wife has a very strict tradition. I don’t know why – because she is young – but one of the reasons our relationship works is that she loves – and this is her choice – the idea of pink jobs and blue jobs. Don’t ask me why. This is what she enjoys and it’s something I love. She does what she believes women should do, and I do the cleaning of the car, DIY, and the bin. My mother wouldn’t let me clean the toilet. It’s impossible!’.

Gino’s Italian Adventure Mondays 8pm ITV