Tuesday 12 December 2017

Gino D'Acampo

Gino D'Acampo, 34, is a chef and 2009 winner of 'I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!' Born in Naples, he lives in London with his wife, Jessica, and their two children, Luciano, 8, and Rocco, 5

Ciara Dwyer

I get up very early, usually at half five. I need to be ready to leave the house at half six. Every morning I do This Morning, on ITV; it's live. My wife, Jessica, is snoring away in bed.

I roll myself out, have a shower. I don't shave every morning, because when you do these kind of shows there's a lot of make-up involved, and if you shave every day you destroy your skin, because your pores get all covered. I shave every two days. To look good with a beard, you can't leave it too long and you can't leave it too little. Two days' stubble is perfection at its best. My wife doesn't mind the stubble, but the children don't like it. When they jump on the bed and kiss me, they always say I've got a prickly face, and their faces go red. I give them two kisses and voom: they are glowing. I shave, brush my teeth and put my cream on.

Lately, I'm into moisturising my skin. I never did it before. I allow myself 45 minutes to get ready and, out of that time, 15 minutes goes on the hair. I put on the wax, I put on the lacquer, and then I don't like it and I change it again. It's a palaver. I never have breakfast before I leave the house, not even a coffee. So I get into the car. I don't have to drive any more. The television studio sends me a driver. He's a fantastic guy.

The first thing I do is go to the petrol station and get the paper. I'm an intellectual, so I get two papers -- The Sun and The Mirror. The secret of reading a paper is not to read the bad news, so that leaves you probably only one page to read. Why do you want to read all that bad news? The country is in bankruptcy, this person has died. It puts you down for the day, and I have to be up and smiling.

Then I do a bit of Twitter. I'm not one of those people who tweets every two seconds. Mostly I check my Twitter and it keeps me in touch with my audience. Often I ask people about what recipes they like. Before I get into work, I stop at a coffee bar and I'll probably have three or four espressos. Then I get to the studio at eight and say hi to everybody.

The first thing that I do is go into the kitchen to check that we've got everything nice for my item at 12 o'clock. I say hi to Phillip [Schofield] and Holly [Willoughby] and the make-up artist. It becomes like a little family. I love to do This Morning, because you never know who you're going to find that day. One week it was Tony Bennett, and before that it was Richard Branson and the prime minister.

I get into the kitchen and we start to do all the preparation of the food. Then I wait for 12 o'clock, and we're on. I love to perform and cook at the same time. I want to show them a good recipe, and I also want to make sure that they enjoy themselves. I want them to understand that if they buy the right ingredients at the right time, then they spend less time in the kitchen and they prepare better food. All the time I am doing research for new recipes.

The item lasts about 10 minutes, then it's kissy-kissy everybody. I get in the car straight away and go back to the office.

By that point I'm on espresso number eight. My health is fine. I think it's the coffee that keeps me young. I stay in the office and I usually prepare something to eat like pasta, or a good sandwich. Life is too short for a bad sandwich. You need to eat well. I'd rather not eat than eat badly.

I ate all that disgusting stuff in the jungle -- a fermented rotten egg, live seaworms and cockroaches. I did it because I wanted to experience the jungle. You get points for eating that stuff, and I'm very competitive. I don't like to let myself down. The worst thing about it was the heat and the lack of food. And the shaving was awful. They didn't give you the right razors. I wasn't grooming anything in the jungle -- it was Gino naturel. It was incredible to win, and it was a beautiful thing to realise that people liked me. Before I went to the jungle, I had a message -- Italian food is healthy -- and, since I won, the message has become louder.

I usually get home about seven. The first thing I do is shut the door and run to the kids. I play with them for a bit, but then I get bored. I'm a strict father, and I want them to be well-behaved kids. Manners are very important. Usually my wife will cook the dinner. Everybody will sit down at the table. I don't want the television on and nobody picks up the mobile phone, not even me. Nobody leaves the table until I get up. My wife and I have a rule with the kids eating their dinner. There's no such thing as 'I don't like'. Whatever happens, they have to try it twice. I don't like when they try to be clever by saying, 'If I eat it, can I have a piece of chocolate?' I'm not interested in doing deals. I always remind them that there is a child somewhere in the world crying because he hasn't got food on the plate.

I always say I want the kids in bed by eight, because that is the time I spend with my wife. I lead a busy life, and I need to give time to everybody. You need to make an effort. If the kids are always around, you and your wife don't have time to talk, make love, kiss or even argue. I've got a swimming pool in the house. Sometimes we go for a romantic swim. When you are with your wife, you may as well be naked. My wife is the best woman ever -- she's always happy, she never moans, and she understands the space I need.

I'm usually in bed by 10. At that point, it's decision time. Sex or sleep? If it's sleep, I pull my duvet up and 40 seconds later I'm gone. Or I look at the clock and say, 'let's have sex for a couple of hours'. It's as simple as that.


Gino will be demonstrating at Taste of Christmas. Taste of Christmas, sponsored by Marks & Spencer, is the season's finest food, drink and Christmas-shopping festival, taking place from November 26 to 28 in the Convention Centre Dublin. Tickets are on sale from €19.50. See www.tasteofchristmas.ie

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