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Gino D’Acampo looking forward to 2022 in “beautiful city” Liverpool

2 years ago

Gino D’Acampo looking forward to 2022 in “beautiful city” Liverpool

Gino D’Acampo chats to The Guide Liverpool about his plans for 2022, his Castle Street re-brand and his new Old Hall Street venue

Gino D’Acampo admits staff in his restaurants are always ‘slightly more alert’ when he visits: “I see a few shakes in the kitchen when I’m around,” he grins.

Not that he need worry in Liverpool where he opened his third restaurant with the Melia hotel chain in summer last year. Things are going extremely well.

Gino says: “It’s the biggest restaurant that we have, it’s the most popular we have and it’s the one where we make more money.

“It’s insanely busy.”

Why is it so popular? “Firstly, because of the location, inside the Melia hotel – it just fits perfectly.”

But he adds: “This is an impressive restaurant if I can say so myself. As we were building the restaurant I thought this is going to be really cool, especially with the Sky Bar upstairs where you can see Liverpool, 360 degrees. It’s insane.

“And what a beautiful city to see, at night especially with the colours of the lights.

“So, yes, the Sky Bar helped a lot because of the view, but it’s easy to park around here…you know, sometimes everything works, you can’t always explain it.”

Gino has got to know the city well, not least because of his Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant in Castle Street – although this is being re-branded without his involvement – and now with the new restaurant in Old Hall Street which he visited this weekend.

But he knew it even before: “I remember I took my mum and dad here. My dad is a bit of fun like me, and he wanted to see all the Liverpool where the Beatles were, we did the tour.

“And I’ve been here a few times with This Morning.”

Credit: Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant Liverpoo

Although Gino, who’s worked on the popular morning magazine show for 16 years, didn’t always realise it was originally based in the city: “We came here about five or six years ago and did a special, and I wondered what the hell we were doing in Liverpool.

“But then they told me, it was at the Albert Dock and it had the famous weather map.”

Gino visits Liverpool between 10 and 15 times a year. He is hands-on with his restaurants and, when he can’t visit to make sure everything is running as he would want it to, his team which includes his son, Luciano, comes in his place.

“You asked what makes a good restaurant great, and it’s the presence of the owner.

“When any restaurant believes that the name above the door is bigger than the restaurant itself, that’s when the mistakes happen. All my restaurants have my full attention, 100%.”

So is he ever tempted to ask staff to step to one side if he thinks, for instance, in the kitchen things aren’t being done as he would want? “All the time,” he laughs. “All the time. I just say, let me show you once again how we do it.

“We look after the training of a lot of our people in the restaurant, and I don’t mind doing it, I think it’s cool to keep showing them.  It’s the same in the bar. If someone doesn’t make a cappuccino the way I want a cappuccino to be made, I go ‘I’m going to show you one more time’. Or if someone doesn’t make a drink the way I like a drink to be made…

“So I do get too much involved probably some times.”

And, though it’s hard to believe from the Italian who’s as charming in the flesh as he is on screen, if things aren’t just so: “Then you get a completely different Gino. Let’s just say it’s not the fun guy you see on TV.

“I don’t have a lot of patience, I don’t have a lot of time, and I expect people to give me 100%. I don’t care about excuses or people’s problems – including mine; we charge people money because they come here, they want a good evening, good food, good drink. We have to make sure guests get the best experience ever.”

Gino has been in Liverpool to develop the new Spring/Summer menu for Gino D’Acampo Old Hall Street, and he is ‘excited’.

“It’s the menu I like most to create. You have new vegetables coming in, different seafood, the meat is different, you start to work with lamb and all things that you can’t get in the winter. The dishes are lighter and more colourful, so it’s definitely the menu that makes me excited.”

And he’s a busy man. After Liverpool, Gino was heading to Cheshire to celebrate the opening of Luciano’s, his new 5* restaurant.

He writes a book every year, he has his own food range, he makes his own wine and he works on television with This Morning, Gino’s Italian Escape, two shows in Italy, and, of course, Gordon, Gino and Fred’s various adventures (and he confesses ‘what you see is only half of the fun, the rest would not be possible to put on TV!’).

It’s hard to miss him – not that we’d want to – although he might be having his nose pushed a little out of joint by a new member of his family, Snoop, the delightful dachshund pup.

“He’s like David Bowie, with one blue eye and one dark eye,” says Gino. “He’s got his own Instagram account, his own Tik Tok account. He’s a very cool dog.

“Although it is a bit annoying because now, when I see or meet people, they don’t ask how I’m doing anymore, they ask me about the cute little sausage thing!”

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You can visit the Liverpool Directory here for the best food, drinks, shopping and attractions in the city.


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