No mobiles at the dinner table for This Morning chef Gino D’Acampo and family
Celebrity chef and father-of-three Gino D’Acampo, heading to the Ipswich Regent with his new tour, says other parents should follow his example and ban phones at the dinner table. He has the Pope’s agreement.
“The problem nowadays is bloody mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, social media in general, the internet. Everybody is always constantly distracted by these electronic things they have in their hands,” says This Morning’s regular chef.
Compared to 20 or 30 years ago, when people had more time to spend in the kitchen as a family; we all want everything super fast. He fears children now are missing out on what his generation had.
“No matter what you do, if you cook, read a book, do a puzzle with your family; everybody should find time to spend with the family to have a chat, to interact. When we’re sitting at the table and we eat, no mobile phone no matter who you are. Family time is family time, full stop.”
Pope Francis recently told a crowd of youngsters at a university in Rome the same. He said speaking to others on the phone while at the dinner table was the start of war and that dialogue which brings hearts closer together was a medicine against violence.
Gino’s children Luciano, three; Rocco, 12, and Mia, five, have entered the world of the worldwide web.
“This is now the tender age when any parents should be careful, make more effort. We need to be more strict with things like this, otherwise social media, the internet, mobiles, they’re just going to take over.”
Cooking and socialising though go hand in hand for the proud and fun-loving Neapolitan, who toyed with the idea of being a dentist when he was young. He loves interacting with his fans. He’s sure to be inviting some of them on stage for a memorable, up-close experience during his live show.
Fresh from a successful fourth series of Gino’s Italian Escape on ITV, it sees the best-selling cook book writer share his passion and flair for Italian cookery with signature recipes from all corners of his beloved home country.
“I’m very excited and can’t wait to share some fantastic food and cooking tips. It’s going to be Gino - live and unleashed. What I do is something that I get up in the morning and I love to do. The day that passion goes away or I start to get grumpy is the day I start to retire.”
Gino, whose ultimate comfort food is pasta - easy to prepare, versatile and inexpensive - can’t wait to revisit Ipswich.
“It was one of the places to be honest with you where, when I played it for the first time, I thought ‘if all the theatres are as cool as Ipswich I want to do this again’. There’ll definitely be an element of Celebrity Juice Gino when I interact with the audience; I’ll really upset people if he doesn’t (appear),” he laughs. “Interacting with the audience, that’s my favourite part of the job.”
Gino, put off dentistry by the amount of studying, is all about making cooking easy. He’s had a passion for it since he was eight or nine. More a practical kind of guy who loves the atmosphere of the kitchen, he doesn’t believe in complicated recipes that mean you have to spend all day in the kitchen.
“My kind of cooking is very much get in there, 20 minutes, fresh ingredients, job done, get on with your life. Cooking is a form of art. You get a bunch of ingredients and if you have eight people with the same ones they will all take them and do something completely different from each other. So yes, it’s the way you express yourself. Through cooking you can tell a lot about a person.”
A well-seasoned pro, he doesn’t worry about mishaps. It happens to the best chefs. He just relaxes and gets on with it. When things do go wrong, it can be quite funny. One moment that sticks in his mind happened in his own kitchen.
“I was trying to develop a new recipe and I wanted to do a nice, beautiful, shiny meringue. But my wife, the day before, decided to change the salt and the sugar the other way round. I drove myself mental for about 20 minutes,” recalls Gino, who’s done his fair share of 16-hour days, scrubbing kitchens, cutting his hands, burning his arms and being shouted at - all part of parcel on the way up if you really want to become the best at what you do he adds.