‘I’m a flirt…!’

Gino D’Acampo tells us about the women in his life and why he’s got a bone to pick with Keith Lemon…

It’s a wonder chef Gino D’Acampo gets any cooking done given how excitable he is! When we meet the former I’m A Celebrity… winner he’s as hyperactive as he seems on television – speaking at the speed of sound, offering us some home-made cakes and flirting like a man possessed.

But behind all that Italian charm lies a serious businessman. Best known for his stints as the resident chef on This Morning, as well as hosting his own daytime show Let’s Do Lunch, alongside his “work wife” Melanie Sykes, he’s now back for a second series of Gino’s Italian Escape, which is accompanied by another new recipe book. We managed to get Gino, 38, to sit still for long enough to tell us all about the show, his celebrity mates and what his wife Jessica thinks of his outrageous flirting…

The show sees you travel around Italy – do you have any horror stories from filming?
I lost a tooth in Venice! I decided it would be fun to throw a toga party for the crew on the last day. So we took all the bed sheets from our hotel and we made our own costumes. We had masks on, the full works. We were drinking Prosecco all evening. I don’t remember how it happened, but I woke up in the morning and like something out of the film The Hangover, I couldn’t find my tooth. I didn’t even know what room I was in! I came home and my wife was like, “What?!” Oops.

Your wife is English. What’s the difference between British and Italian girls?
Italian women are very difficult. They think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. They scare me. I find It so easy to talk to English girls as they all think I’m great. I’ve got the accent, the charm – it’s the way I talk. So I’m around English women and I think, “Wow, I must be really good!” Then I go to Italy and I realise I’m pretty bad. All the chat-up lines I use in England don’t work in Italy!

Chat-up lines? You’re married!
[Laughs] My wife knows what I’m like. I’m a flirt!

You’re a regular on This Morning – are you excited to see Amanda Holden join the show?
Ah. yes – for Holly Willoughby’s maternity leave. I think it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to work with her. Amanda is lovely.

Lovelier than Holly?
Holly and I have been friends for a long time. We go on holidays together, our families know each other – Amanda and I don’t have that kind of relationship so it would be very unfair of me to say who’s lovelier. I don’t know Amanda that well – yet. TV-wise, they’re both great. They don’t insult anyone, they don’t bother anyone. They are just beautiful ladies.

You do work with a lot of gorgeous women – who would you class as your ‘work wife’?
It has to be Melanie Sykes. She’s the one I wake up to every morning – for the show of course [grins]!

What is your relationship like?
Oh, I love her to bits. But I upset her a lot by playing tricks on her. Like every good marriage, you need to upset each other sometimes because you want to see how far you can push things before she pushes you back. It’s like children in the playground.

How did she cope following her arrest for assaulting her hubby Jack Cockings and their separation last year?
I don’t ask many questions. It’s her private thing. But one thing I’d say is she’s very strong, very powerful and I love that about her. I’ve known her for six years now. I’ve always been a good friend to her. I support her through the good and the bad.

Did you feel for her when her private life made the headlines?
Of course. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to her and I know people felt for her because she did live this out in the public eye. But them I don’t read the papers. I don’t really watch the TV either. I only just found out that Amanda was coming to replace Holly [laughs]!

Finally, your Wikipedia profile once claimed you were born in Sheffield – how English are you?
What?! Oh my god, has someone changed my Wikipedia? I know who’s responsible for this. It’s Keith Lemon. Every time I’m on Celebrity Juice he says I’m from Sheffield. He’s a flippin’ idiot. I’m going to text him now. I was born and raised in Naples! I don’t even know where Sheffield is!