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Interview Gino D'Acampo

Italian chef and housewives' favourite Gino D'Acampo talks to us about his involvement in Comic Relief this year – and he also shares one or two romantic food ideas

Interview: Gino D'Acampo

Since moving to the UK in 1995 as a sprightly, enthusiastic 20 year old passionate about his culinary gift, Gino D’Acampo has made quite the name for himself. As a teenager, he worked in some of the finest restaurants in Europe, including a Sylvester Stallone endorsed eatery in Marbella. His relocation to London was the spark to launch his TV career, appearing on UKTV Food to cook some fine Italian cuisine. Proving that there’s ‘no taste like home’, he was soon a regular on cooking shows across the terrestrial channels and his rocketing fame was intensified by his successful appearance on ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’, winning the show after seducing viewers with his warm charm. And now the father-of-two has been working with Comic Relief.

Wine Relief is the campaign that Gino hopes will get everyone involved. He explains that there is a lot of pressure for people to do something funny, as well as the obvious time-consuming factor that fund raising efforts have. He cheerfully asks “why don’t we simply just have a bottle of wine instead?”

And we’ll raise a glass to that. Running since 1999, Wine Relief has raised over £3.8 million for Comic Relief. A number of high-profile retailers get involved, such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, with a contribution being made to Comic Relief from the sales of a select list of wines at each retailer. This “flavoured” idea, in Gino’s colourful choice of words, sees the money you spend on the selected drinks go towards helping charities in Africa and here in the UK.

So for those of you who think you have finally found a way to justify a good drinking session by dedicating it to a worthy cause, what creative ideas does Gino have about what else you can do with your charitable purchase? “I will be using the wines from the selected list to cook with it, as you don’t necessarily have to drink wine; you can use it in a stew, or a beautiful bolognaise sauce,” he says, adding that his favourite wine is a strong, full-bodied red (a 100% red man, as he comprehensively puts it).

Gino has always been one to get behind a campaign or two: before the National Television Awards in January, he vowed to cook live on air naked if ‘This Morning’ picked up an accolade and, sure enough, the show took home the title of ‘Best Magazine Show’. A man of his word, he was cooking gammon and peas the next day in his birthday suit. The daring appearance went down a treat and Gino is confident that this project can generate a similar buzz. He hopes to raise more than £1 million for this year’s Wine Relief and he is more than confident they will meet their target. He hasn’t ruled out any more ‘naked chef’ exploits either, maintaining that anything can happen when Red Nose Day is just around the corner.

Although he has nothing planned for the big event, Gino is a big fan of the television show; he always makes an effort to watch the live spectacle and despite not being approached to do anything on 18th March, he would be more than happy to help out. His avid enthusiasm for the charity is unquestionable and he has a few ideas of his own on how he can help out in future fund-raising events: “Something I could do is get involved with Sport Relief, which I think is happening next year. I’m a huge rugby fan and I follow Leicester Tigers – if I could do something there that would be fantastic.”

Gino would be the first to tell you that the Italians speak the language of love and, as we are talking to him on Valentine’s Day (a gift a lot of you ladies would have appreciated too, no doubt!), he gives us a meal guaranteed to get hearts racing on a special occasion – quite literally! Affogato, Italian for ‘drowned’, consists of two scoops of ice cream swimming in espresso coffee, with a few teaspoons of amaretto added on top. The caffeine increases the heart rate, getting lovers in the mood for a romantic evening.

Cheeky Gino resumes his chef duties later in the year, as he begins filming a programme to showcase Britain’s best family recipes in 30 different locations. The show, called ‘No Taste Like Home’, looks set to be another gem in the chef’s impressive TV career.

For more information on Wine Relief and Red Nose Day 2011, visit www.rednoseday.com/about/partners/winerelief

Posted on Thursday 17th February 2011
Tom Head

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