In his latest food show Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Makeon ITV, popular TV chef Gino D’Acampo meets some of Italy’s forthright female cooks
“In Italy, women are the boss of the kitchen,’ says TV chef Gino. ‘Italian matriarchs have shaped the country’s food trends. And you’ll see why I love cooking with these women – they keep me on my toes!
The six-part series sees Gino travel from Naples to Bologna, learning to cool local dishes from families and their matriarchs. He kicks off in Gino’s birthplace, Torre del Greco, where a Gino was taught to cook by his late Nonna Flora and Mamma Alba.
“I want to show you my Italian family and how it all started,” says Gino. “I hope to honor the women responsible for my cooking journey as without them there would be no Gino D’Acampo!”
So here’s everything you need to know about ITV series Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make…
Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make release date
Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make is a six-part series that starts on ITV on Sunday September 4 at 7.30pm, with episodes running weekly at the same time. Episodes will also become available on ITV Hub. We’ll update if there’s a US or international air date.
You can also watch Gino D’Acampo in Gino In Sardinia on ITV’s This Morning from Tuesday September 6 at 10am (see our interview for more on his Sardinia trip).
What happens in Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make?
Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make begins with Gino re-uniting with his aunts Lina and Rita and niece Martina, and Gino’s suitably embarrassed when they pull out family photos albums full of a naked baby Gino! But then it’s time to get busy, and Gino takes on the role of sous chef as his aunts take control of the kitchen and rustle up his favorite dish, Pasta alla Genovese.
Gino also visits the pizza place he adored as a boy and buys juicy mussels from the harbor before rustling up his Mamma’s Sunday night signature dish, mussels with linguine. “It’s the best, ‘smiles Gino. ‘I have so much fun with my Italian family. I can’t wait for you guys to see it!”
As he cooks with his family, Gino remembers his days cooking with his family… “Making pizza with Nonna Flora, rolling meatballs with my aunty Clara, and stirring simmering pots of ragu in Mamma’s kitchen was wonderful. I lost Mamma Alba seven years ago but [remember] a family filled with joy. Mamma and Nonna were always cooking and teaching me. Their best advice was to use great ingredients and keep it simple. Without their passion for food I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Interview: Gino D’Acampo reveals the secrets behind Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make
Celebrating the mammas of Italy sounds like a fantastic idea for a show?
Gino says: “Spending time with my Italian family back home has been so much fun. My journey as a chef is all thanks to two generations of women and this series is about honoring them as well as exploring Italy and local dishes from other families and their matriarchs along the way.”
We imagine we’ll get to meet some incredible characters?
“Absolutely – in Italy, women are the boss of the kitchen! Italian matriarchs have shaped the country’s food trends and mastered the dishes. And I love cooking with them – they keep me on my toes!”
In episode one, we meet two of your mum’s sisters, Aunt Rita and Aunt Lina. Were you thrilled they shared anecdotes and their album of baby Gino photos?!
“That’s the point of having family – so they can share the most embarrassing stories of you around the table! I loved cooking a traditional pasta Genovese sauce with my aunts.”
Do you have any other series highlights?
“I visit Procida [an island in the Bay of Naples] which I enjoyed as I grew up near the ocean, so I love anything to do with the sea. The fresh fish is beautiful. I also have a great time picking cherries and helping out in a Tuscan vineyard. Wine has always been a passion of mine and I helped spray the vineyard with organic pesticides. I was super-interested in the whole process.”
Is it true you’ve also invited a film crew for ITV’s This Morning into ‘Villa D’Acampo’ in Sardinia, where you live for half the year?
“Yes. I didn’t mind the crew being in my house as I want to show viewers the simplicity of my life in Sardinia, as it’s completely different from my crazy one in the UK!”
Why is Sardinia so special to you?
“Because it’s one of the only places where my family is all together [Gino and his wife, Jessica, share three children together, sons Luciano and Rocco and daughter Mia]. In the UK, one [of my children] is at school, one’s at work, one is away, and it’s difficult to spend uninterrupted quality time together. In Sardinia, without any distractions, it’s much easier and I get to relax. It’s such a calm place. And then there’s the food…”
Always the food! Tell us more…
“It’s authentic and fresh and most of it comes from someone’s farm or the ocean, which I love. My favorite things are Sardinian Pecorino cheese or Sardinian Panadas, which is pastry stuffed with mince or vegetables. I grow fruit and veg in my Villa and they’re the first things I eat whenever I arrive – that and spaghetti with fresh clams.”
Ah, Spaghetti vongole… We see you cook it on the beach this week, in the first part of the This Morning segment. It holds a special place in your heart, doesn’t it?
“It will always be the most special dish in the world to me because it’s the last dish that my mother cooked for me before she passed away. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had and I’ll never forget it. Mia loves the recipe – she’s the one I like to please now!”
We hear you also go for a spin on a motorbike…
“About a year ago, I bought a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy special edition and I love it – especially when I take Rocco for a ride in the morning by the sea and get fresh croissants and an espresso. You can’t beat the feeling of freedom.
You visit Sardinia’s ‘Blue Zone’ – an area renowned for having the largest number of people that live to 100 years old. How do they do it?
“There are many theories of why they live so long, or how they do it. For me, there’s one answer: Simplicity. They wake up, eat healthily, work, and go for long walks. That’s what life is all about, they don’t diet in fancy ways. I met one man who’s 105 — he was fantastic! It made me realize that what we think is important is maybe not. The secret to life is to enjoy it, eat well and not work too hard. That’s why I try to have a good work-life balance and work for six months and then take six months off and go on holiday. I think that’s a pretty good way of living.”
We agree, as long as you keep coming back to the UK to make TV shows! Have you anything else in the pipeline?
“You’ll have to wait and see! But I’ll always cook on This Morning. Cooking for Phillip [Schofield] and Holly [Willoughby] is one of my favorite things to do and I consider them friends. Plus, This Morning fans are very cool — they get my sense of humor!”
Is there a trailer?
ITV hasn’t released a trailer yet for Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make but if they do we’ll definitely post it here.