Who Is Gino D'Acampo And Why You Need To Know About Him

Here in America, we can't seem to get enough of our favorite foodie personalities. From cookbooks and television series, to podcasts and flagship restaurants, we eat it up (literally!). But, there's a whole world out there to discover beyond Rachael, Bobby, and Giada. All around the globe, food personalities are beloved fixtures in their own countries and communities. Gino D'Acampo is an Italian born chef turned pop culture fixture over in England. With his signature cheeky style, he's a staple on British television with cookbooks and restaurants abound, not to mention a proud holder of 3 Michelin stars.

Well, it's time to blast "We're Coming To America." Lucky for us, D'Acampo will be making his U.S. television debut on FOX this January. He'll be joining his bestie, Gordon Ramsay, for a wild RV road trip across the United States. We're thrilled that the British are coming because we're expecting a whole lot of shenanigans and belly laughs courtesy of these mega personalities. Ahead of the January 5th premiere of Gordon Ramsay's American Road Trip, we're giving you the 411 on his co-star and your soon to be favorite chef personality. This is Gino D'Acampo and why you need to know about him. 

Gino D'Acampo is a trained Italian Chef

Gino D'Acampo, born Gennaro D'Acampo, was born and raised in Naples, Italy, where he had his first taste of the restaurant scene with a gig of cleaning the pizza oven at a local spot. His cooking style is focused on unique twists of classic Italian recipes that are accessible to the inspiring home chef and made with simple ingredients. Inspired by his grandfather's passion for cooking (he was the head chef for Costa Cruise ships after all), D'Acampo was formally trained at the Luigi de Medici Catering College in Florence, Italy at the young age of 15.

Before arriving in England, he landed his first major professional gig at Perignon in Nice, France. He later became head chef at Sylvestor Stallone's Mambo King in Marbella, Spain, all before the age of 20. His climb to success was a slow one (and even included some jail time), but his career really started to blossom once in England in the early 2000s. After several head chef positions at London hot spots, including Pane Vino, he became a development chef for a major Italian food company. It was his unique skill of blending olive oils that caught the attention of television executives and led to him becoming one of the most sought-after TV guest chefs in the nation. 

Gino D'Acampo rose to fame thanks to morning television

His olive oil skills landed him his first gig on UK TV Food's Great Food Live. The nation quickly fell in love with his obvious talents (and flirtatious charm) and this landed the chef multiple offers from other programs. He continued making regular appearances on Great Food Live while also becoming a regular guest on BBC2's Saturday Kitchen. The nation's top morning television program, ITV's This Morning, saw potential in the budding chef and soon offered him a guest slot. A big break to say the least, he's been the program's regular celebrity guest chef for over ten years. 

These television appearances landed the chef some serious opportunities to expand his business, including serving as head chef for Opera legend Pavarotti on tour. All before age 30, D'Acampo started his own Italian food supply company, Bonta Italia Ltd., and also developed a line of ready-made meals for the third-largest retailer in the world, Tesco. This led to D'Acampo's own namesake line of olive oils and prepared sauces. 

Gino D'Acampo is known for his silly antics, like cooking naked

We all love a good scandal, and no one knows that better than Gino D'Acampo. His television appearances frequently go viral and land him on the cover of news stories and tabloids thanks to his no nonsense approach to cooking and tongue-in-cheek wit. After all, what's talent if you don't have a personality to go along with it? Despite having some serious street cred in the food world (like being a member of the coveted Federation of Italian Chefs), he still hasn't forgotten his roots. D'Acampo is unapologetically himself, even if it lands him in a bit of hot water from time to time. 

In 2011, D'Acampo vowed to cook in the nude on ITV's This Morning if the program took home an award from the prestigious National TV Awards. Fans were tickled to see D'Acampo follow through on that promise. To fulfill his bet, he cooked a Bistecca di pancetta in nothing but his birthday suit as hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby looked on (in shock and awe) and tried to maintain their composures. The video has received nearly 2 million views on the show's official YouTube page. 

Gino D'Acampo hosts several food television programs

In addition to appearing as a guest chef, panelist, and judge on numerous television programs, D'Acampo has fronted several of his own network shows. His first self-fronted program, Let's Do Lunch With Gino and Mel, lasted for four seasons. Airing on ITV until 2014, this daytime television program was a hybrid, part cooking show, part talk show. D'Acampo, along with Melanie Sykes, chatted food and celebrities as they welcomed well-known guests on each episode. A fan favorite part of the show was the segment, Challenge Gino, that had D'Acampo doing everything from a chocolate truffle contest to Irish coffee making.

His hit series, Gino's Italian Escape, has aired on ITV since 2013. The show takes viewers along with D'Acampo as he shares some of his favorite locations in Italy and discovers the regional cuisines they are known for. Along the journey, he collects the region's notable ingredients and prepares a dish reflective of their culture. The series is so popular that a cookbook is released each season to tie in with the episodes. It has even produced a spin-off live stage show

Gino D'Acampo is also an award-winning author

As a tie-in to his television series, multiple cookbooks have been released under the Gino's Italian Escape franchise, including a book based on vegetarian recipes. Each book is a collection and celebration of Italian cooking with D'Acampo's signature spin on these classic regional dishes. The approachable recipes presented include everything from a Venetian style aperol spritz to limoncello mousse. The best-selling chef also got into the children's literature arena with the release of Get Cooking with Wiskella. This playful read follows Wiskella and her friends PanPan and Tongo as they go on a mission to obtain farm-fresh eggs to make the world's best pancakes. 

In his book, The Italian Diet, D'Acampo explores the Mediterranean diet and the reasons behind it having the lowest obesity rates for its followers. Having grown up in Southern Italy, his family's diet was always rich in fresh and healthy fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Gino explains: "My grandfather said that a good recipe doesn't need lots and lots of ingredients because if the ingredients are top quality and full of flavour, why would you want to cover up or change their taste?"

Gino D'Acampo owns several restaurants throughout England

It's only fitting that a chef with such national reach and acclaim would open up his own restaurant. After the successful launch of both his Italian supply company and his line at Tesco, D'Acampo took the leap and opened his first restaurant in 2013. Gino My Pasta Bar opened on London's legendary Fleet Street. The industrial chic cafe features fresh pasta dishes as well as traditional Italian sweets and snacks. Gino My Pasta Bar has since expanded to three restaurants operating in London. 

In 2015, he launched the Gino My Restaurant brand on a much grander and ambitious scale compared to the cafe style of the My Pasta Bar brand. Now operating in five locations throughout England, including Manchester and Birmingham, these restaurants feature rooftops, terraces, and even an Italian small plates bar, called Cicchetti. Fans have welcomed the Italian chef's restaurants, but The Guardian does have a bit of distaste for the celebrity fueled venture. Ah, critics. 

Gino D'Acampo's BFF is Gordon Ramsay

As one climbs the ladder of fame, it's only a matter of time until they have a cohort of other celebrities as friends surrounding them. Cue: Gordon Ramsay.  With an already successful television empire that includes fan favorite Kitchen Nightmares, the multi-Michelin award chef has enlisted his buddy, Gino D'Acampo for a series of television specials. 

Along with hospitality expert and maitre d' Fred Sirieix (also of television fame), the trio galivant all over Europe and inevitably, hilariousness ensues — as well as copious amounts of eating and drinking. There's a certain charm to each of them, and their camaraderie and genuine friendship is utterly palpable. The series brings along plenty of pranks and even a few hilarious mishaps, thanks to their boyish escapades.

The series has proved so popular that the Gordon, Gino, and Fred series has had multiple Christmas specials and will now be introduced in America. In a condensed version for us here in the states, Gordon Ramsay's American Roadtrip is set to premiere on FOX US in January 2021. The series has also been commissioned for additional specials expected in 2022 and 2023. 

Gino D'Acampo launched a line of wine and frozen prepared food

Why stop at just restaurants and television series? With Italian roots, it's only natural that D'Acampo would expand into the lucrative market of his homeland's beverage of choice, wine. Cleverly named Gino Vino (Yep! That's for real!), his line of handpicked wines launched in 2011 with the goal to make affordable and quality Italian wine available to everyone with a price tag that wouldn't leave them in sticker shock. 

The line includes a selection of red, white, and rose wine, as well as a Prosecco Brut. D'Acampo explains: "Italian wines don't have to be expensive to be good. It is absolutely ridiculous that people feel that have to spend a fortune." During the process of creation, D'Acampo himself traveled to wineries up, down, and all over Italy to hand select the best wine he could find to compliment any Italian dish. 

Curious of what to pair that wine with? D'Acampo also has an Italian frozen food range available at UK grocery chain Iceland. With extremely affordable price points, the line features a spinach and ricotta ravioli as well as a cannelloni ragu created from a recipe that has been passed down in his family from generation to generation. If you prefer to slice it, there's also a selection of traditional pizza, including a Margherita that's been met with excellent reviews

Gino D'Acampo also hosts a legendary British game show

D'Acampo has come a long way since his humble roots in Southern Italy. His climb to becoming British television royalty has moved one step closer as he was named the new host of legendary game show, Family Fortunes. Having originally launched in 1980, Family Fortunes is based on America's longstanding favorite, Family Feud, with two families competing against each other for their shot at the big-money grand prize. 

D'Acampo had big shoes to fill as he was met with the challenge of living up to the position that has been previously held by the likes of Bob Monkhouse and Max Bygraves. Family Fortunes launched with D'Acampo as host in the fall of 2020 and was met with high-praise for the first-time game show host. Of course, viewers took to social media to proclaim just how great of a job the Italian television personality, who has been known to sometimes fumble over English words, did in hosting the iconic program. 

Gino D'Acampo is a Guinness World Record Title holder (and it involves ravioli)

On top of his already stellar list of accomplishments, we think this one absolutely takes the cake (or is it the ravioli?). Gino D'Acampo is an award-winning chef, author, television personality, and Guinness World Record title holder? Yep. Not just one, but D'Acampo is the proud holder of six Guinness World Records. His titles range from the expected, to the totally out there. He achieved his first record in 2011, when he made 22 raviolis in under two minutes. The record was later beaten by Italian Chef Gennaro Contaldo, but D'Acampo righteously reclaimed the title back in 2013 by making an impressive 32 raviolis. 

As far as the just plain odd, he holds the record for the longest time for running across custard. What?! In 2012, his newly minted title included making the most chocolate truffles in under two minutes. Along with his co-star Melanie Sykes, they set the record for the most jumpers (that's what we call sweaters in the states) put on in a minute, and was able to put on a record 11. He also holds the title for popping the most champagne bottles by opening an impressive seven bottles in under one minute. Saluti!

Gino D'Acampo once made a rat risotto and was arrested because of it

Unfortunately, it's not all roses and rose' for the Italian born turned British television personality. In 2009, D'Acampo participated in the smash hit reality series, "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here." The series catapulted him to mainstream fame, but also, almost landed him a three-year jail sentence. 

The series takes a group of celebrities and leaves them to fend for themselves in the jungles of Australia with little more than basic rations, and just rice and beans to consume. Celebrities compete to win a series of physical and mental challenges that handsomely rewards them with more food. If they fail, they're left with nothing more than a scoop of rice and beans. Call it necessity or an attempt to hog camera time, but poor D'Acampo was starving and decided to take matters into his own hands. Literally. 

D'Acampo was in "exile" and left with just the basic rations when he spotted a rat in his camp. The chef decided to get creative and killed the rat to turn it into a rat risotto. It must have made for great television as D'Acampo went on to become the 2009 series winner and was crowned King of the Jungle. Upon winning, authorities summoned him to the New South Wales court on charges of animal cruelty. Ultimately, he dodged any jail time but the network was left to pay a rather hefty fine.