Gino and Mel: ‘We’re a family on this show!’

Gino D’Acampo and Melanie Sykes tell TV Times magazine about laughs, easy food and milking sheep…

How thrilled are you to be returning this week?

“From the pilot I felt Let’s Do Lunch… (ITV1, Monday, July 9) was a winner and last summer’s show went so well I had everything crossed we’d be back. Mucking around with Gino – what a way to make a living!”

Gino: “But a great show isn’t always given a second series, so I’m – oh my God – so pleased to be talking to you.”

What’s in store for viewers this time?

“It’s an hour every day of laughs, easy, accessible food cooked by Gino, and celebrity guests who get stuck in. It’s a nice combination.”

Gino: “I think people liked it so much because it’s live in front of a studio audience and there’s a lot of interaction with them, letting them taste my dishes, coming up to cook, asking questions. Viewers at home feel they’re in the studio with us.”

Gino, you were set some pretty tough daily challenges last year…

“Tell me about it. The weirdest one was being blindfolded and made to milk sheep.”

Mel: “Oh, but it was delicious milk – so sweet! The challenges are changing this year in that we’re going to ask viewers at home or in the studio audience to challenge Gino pretty much on the spot, which is probably scary for him.”

What food will you be rustling up?

“Easy food that people want to cook and eat. I’ve never done poncey food, I never cook to show off. I cook to inspire with ingredients everyone has and if I can show you how to make brilliant scrambled eggs, I’m happy.”

What will your roles be on the show?

“We’ll have the same roles; Gino’s cooking and I’m happy chatting with guests, being his sous chef.”

Gino: “She asks me so many questions when I’m cooking! Why this? Why are you doing that? It’s like having a child around!”

Mel: “Well, I’m like a punter, I’m interested! My cooking’s so improved thanks to Gino. I’ve learnt loads, and his recipes really inspired me to cook different meals.”

Are you guys at your best on live TV?

“Oh yes, because you’re properly switched on. There isn’t a fibre of your being that isn’t alive, and it always looks better, feels better and is more exciting.”

Gino: “I’m a bit different. I’m never switched on 100 per cent, maybe 85 per cent…”

Mel: “Where’s the rest of you?!”

Gino: “I leave that 15 per cent as a surprise. Even for myself. To go, ‘Sod it, I’m not reading that autocue’ and whatever happens, happens. I like to wing it, go a bit crazy and spontaneous.”

What celebrity guests have you got lined up to join you?

“My mate Alan Carr, which I’m so excited about…”

Gino: “Chris Moyles, Peter Andre – and I’d like to get Pippa Middleton on. For no special reason! I’d like to invite Carol Vorderman back and Joe Pasquale who really got into it last summer. We’re a family on this show.”

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