The full line-up for I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has been revealed, and before the ten celeb contestants enter camp when the show kicks off on Sunday, HELLO! Online catches up with former jungle king Gino D'Acampo, who was crowned the show’s winner in 2009.
Melanie Sykes, Kendra Wilkinson, Michael Buerk, Gemma Collins and Tinchy Stryder are among the famous faces competing to be crowned the 14th season’s king or queen of the jungle. But who would Gino really like to see take the challenge? None other than the monarch herself, Queen Elizabeth, and her husband Prince Philip – oh, and the Prime Minister David Cameron. No doubt he'll be disappointed that the show won't have a royal edge this time around…
And what’s the lovable Italian chef’s advice for those who are braving it Down Under? "Relax and enjoy the experience without overthinking too much," says Gino. "If they enjoy [it], everything’s going to be fine."
He also hopes they've practiced cooking beans and rice – because they’re going to be eating plenty.
So much of it in fact, that Gino found himself cooking a rat when it was his turn – a move that sparked debate and for which ITV later apologised. Gino can't recall the daring meal now though. When asked how it tasted, he hesitates. "You know when you can’t identify the flavour?" he says, "so it tastes like chicken? It tasted like chicken."
How was the I'm A Celebrity... experience for him? "Amazing. One of my favourite experiences ever, spending 25 days relaxing in the sunshine in the jungle was fantastic," he says animatedly. "The whole experience was great."
Gino took the jungle crown in 2009
The dad-of-three, who has been with his wife, Jessica Stellina Morrison, since he was 19 – it was in fact her who brought Gino to London "as a little souvenir" back when he first moved over – is also looking forward to Christmas.
What will be on the TV chef’s Christmas menu this year?
It will be "very, very simple, Italian," Gino says, adding that "The D'Acampo's don’t like turkey". He and his loved ones will be spending the festive period at Gino’s house in the idyllic island of Sardinia, and "pork, beef, seafood and seabass" will all be served.
Gino pictured with 2009 runner-up Kim Woodburn
Gino reveals the secret to his Christmas pork: "We're going to do it a traditional way with fresh rosemary, garlic, a touch of red wine, a little bit of masala wine as well in there, very, very simple, Italian."
And his favourite Christmas Day treat? "Mince pies, warm, with the crusty pastry, with custard."
Gino D'Acampo will be appearing at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas this November, in London (Earls Court 19-23). For tickets visit idealhomeshowchristmas.co.uk