Pasta king in Reading tomorrowBy David Millward
November 23, 2010
Gino D’Acampo has many strings to his bow – TV chef, award winning food writer, Jungle King and now a world record holder.
The popular Italian chef was proudly clutching his Guinness World Record certificate to mark his part in a great lemon-catching feat on ITV’s This Morning when getreading caught up with him.
Gino will be visiting Reading tomorrow to publicise his new book which is all about his favourite food – not surprisingly, pasta.
But you will not see him popping to Jamie’s Italian or Carluccio’s for lunch afterwards.
The Naples-born chef has his own company supplying authentic Italian food to supermarket giant Tesco but he said he would not put his name to a restaurant chain.
He said: “I’m the kind of person that when I do something I put a lot of effort to make it perfect.
“I don’t think it’s fair if I have a restaurant that people come to and I’m not there. I don’t want to disappoint people.
“I think for people to make an extra journey to see you and have your food, the least you can do is cook for them.
“I won’t put my name on something and then not be there. I don’t want to just be a name.”
Neither would you be likely to see D’Acampo settling down for a traditional British Christmas dinner.
He said: “I would traditionally cook fish because I come from the south of Italy and also because I hate turkey. I don’t like to cook it, I don’t like to eat it.
“I always say, ask 100 people if they like turkey and 99 will say yes but only at Christmas because it’s traditional.”
D’Acampo’s first book, Fantastico! won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for best Italian cookbook and his two other books, Buonissimo! and The I Diet were both bestsellers.
His latest Christmas-time offering, Gino’s Pasta, includes a collection of 100 dishes showing the versatility of the basic but much-loved ingredient.
D’Acampo said: “In the last couple of years I’ve written three or four books but I get asked more questions about pasta than anything else.
“I realise pasta is a very popular thing to cook. It’s not expensive, it’s easy to prepare and if you have a big family it’s easy to do. If you are a student without much money it’s the ultimate fast food.
“It’s a subject very close to my heart. I wanted to make sure people know how to cook it step by step.”
D’Acampo said he was looking forward to seeing his fans in Reading and admitted 95 per cent were usually women and the other five per cent were husbands who had been dragged along.
He said: “That is the favourite part of my job – when I am face to face with the people who like what I do.
“When I do a book signing, to me, it’s nothing to do with how many books I sell but how much time I spend with my fans.
“A lot of people tell me off for spending too much time with them but these people have been queuing, taken time off to come and see me. A fan is for ever, not just for a book.”
Gino will be signing copies of Gino’s Pasta, priced £16.99, at British Bookshops & Stationers, in Market Place, Reading, between 12.30pm and 2pm tomorrow.