“One French plonker, one cocky Italian and one Greek God in the birth place of civilisation, what could possibly go wrong?“ says Gordon Ramsay.
With a BAFTA-nomination, National Television Award nomination and a TV Choice Award under their belts, Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix have been back on our ITV screens in recent weeks with a new show, Gordon, Gino & Fred Go Greek.
On this occasion, they hit the beautiful Greek islands and historical city of Athens, for a big fat Greek adventure, together again behind the wheel of a vintage VW campervan on an epic odyssey like no other.
From island hopping on a catamaran, to jet ski racing and shipwreck diving, there is bromance and bickering in equal measure. Thanks to an abundance of fantastic food, including the freshest lobster, chefs Gordon and Gino look to prove that Greece’s culinary credentials are up there with the very best of Europe.
The guys begin their adventure in Crete, Greece’s largest island, before navigating their way to stunning Santorini, making their way to the party island of Mykonos and finishing their trip in the Greek capital Athens and the monasteries of Meteora.
Episode one sees the trio lobster diving and pastry making in Crete before visiting the hot springs of Santorini and then moving on to make traditional sausages in Mykonos.
In episode two, after indulging in the unique produce of the Greek islands and exploring the fresh local specialities that not only contribute to the remarkably healthy older generation, but also enable some of the longest life spans anywhere in the world, the boys are in the Greek capital Athens in a vintage VW campervan. This is where high-concept cuisine originated and is still being re-invented, in a city known as the birth place of democracy and the cradle of western civilisation.
Highlights include a souvlaki showdown, racing in an ancient Olympic stadium, a visit to an award-winning bio-dynamic vineyard, downing liquid Greek salad cocktails in one of the world’s top bars, The Clummsies, visiting bee keeping nuns and truffle hunting with dogs amidst the gigantic rock pillar landscape of Meteora in central Greece.
Van Live! caught up with the boys to find out about campervan road tripping and cooking in Greece. Plus, we’ve a special clip to show you from Episode Two. Both episodes of Gordon, Gino & Fred Go Greek are available to view on the ITV Hub. And, they’re well worth viewing!
What can viewers expect to see in the new series?
Everything they’ve come to love about me, Gino and Fred creating havoc and cooking great food in beautiful locations. Meeting amazing food providers, discovering off-the-beaten-track destinations, having fun with the locals and of course some pretty dreadful driving when anyone other than me is behind the wheel of our various modes of transport!!
You’ve swapped the road for island hopping this series – who was the best Captain?
C’mon, you really don’t need to ask that question – me! It’s always me! Gino thought he was in charge of the catamaran because he got some kind of canoe certificate in a Christmas cracker but let me tell you, he was no captain D’Acampo!
What was your favourite moment or experience on this trip?
We really appreciated how lucky we were to get away and film safely, in COVID times when most people were still staying home. It was great to see the guys, hang out and have fun after the difficult times. It was energising and uplifting. All the locations we visited were quieter than they usually would be, no tourists anywhere, empty streets, empty beaches and that gave us a new perspective, time-out to admire the real beauty of Greece and its stunning islands. The sunsets were incredible the ingredients amazing and the people warm and welcoming.
How would you summarise Greek cuisine?
Super tasty, very fresh – often the most delicious dishes were made of the simplest most humble ingredients. A lesson to learn is that cooking does not need to be over complicated. Fishing for seafood is always a joy, here the waters were crystal clear and the produce incredible, the octopus and lobster was some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Did you cook anything unusual?
In Channia, Crete we went to this old, family run bakery to learn to make Bougasta, which was a first for me, a hundred year old recipe a light, crunchy filo pastry sheep’s cheese puff with sugar sprinkled on top –delicious! The most beautiful ingredient we discovered was definitely the purest honey produced by the nuns in Meteora, honestly, truly stunning! I’m going to roast my Christmas Ham this year with some of their honey it will be delicious.
Can you tell us a bit more about some of the activities?
I’m always excited to go truffle hunting, I love truffles such an incredible ingredient and to think no matter how modern life gets, how high tech kitchens can be, you can have all the gadgets in the world but you still need the incredible nose of a four-legged friend to sniff out the very best truffles. Fascinating. And PS, someone gets naked – again and, no, it’s not me!
Obviously you’re used to Gino and Fred’s ‘quirks’ by now, but even so, what was the most annoying thing each of your companions did on the trip?
I seriously don’t have enough minutes or hours in my day to sit here and list all their annoying habits, there are way too many!
How did you feel about getting back on the road (or water!) with Gordon and Fred again?
The last trip with Gordon and Fred was very, very cold so it was brilliant to be back in the sunshine and enjoying the beautiful islands together. I loved being able to captain the boat and making the guys say ‘YES CAP!’ to me. We had lots of fun but we also had some lovely, special moments together too.
Have you been to Greece before? What do you like about it?
The Greek Islands were amazing, I loved discovering all the local food and traditions. The people were brilliant and so welcoming to us.
I hadn’t been to Athens before but it was great and felt very historical – The Panathenaic Stadium was incredible.
Any favourite food experiences on the trip? The lobster looked incredible?
There was such a variety of food experiences on this trip, on the islands there was lots of amazing, fresh seafood to explore.
In Athens, we had lots of amazing in land food experiences – myself and Gordon worked very well together in a souvlaki showdown with the locals – it was brilliant (even though we didn’t quite win)! The truffle hunting was a very different experience.. a real life treasure hunt!
You looked thrilled when Gordon’s salsa verde was criticised by Grandma Catrina?
It was amazing to see that Gordon can also make mistakes. Watching him grovel to Grandma Catrina was a beautiful moment and to top it off Grandma Catrina loved my Gino Vino!
What was the most annoying thing each of your companions did on the trip?
Fred’s driving is always very annoying and very slow… Gordon throwing sand all over the sausages on BBQ was not ideal – if anyone else did that he would have gone crazy!
How did you feel about getting back on the road (and water!) together again?
It was fantastic, it really was. It was just so nice to be out again with Gordon and Gino, back on the road together, especially after the unprecedented times and the pandemic. I’ve been to Greece a couple of times before with friends and family, but the things I do with Gordon and Gino – I cannot do with anybody else I know! The last adventure we had in America was just something else. I cried so much when it was over. And so to go back, and to beautiful Greece – we went in May, the sun was shining, the water was warm. Yes, there were restrictions and we had to be careful, but it was such a privilege to go, when so many people couldn’t. And not just to go, but to do it in style!
What appealed to you about exploring Greece and did it live up to expectations?
Fruitcake (my partner) has always wanted to go to Santorini, so I will need to go back again and take her. But this trip, due to the pandemic – Santorini was completely empty, I kid you not, nobody there. It was just Gordon, Gino and I walking in the street. And as much as that was sad, it was incredible, because I will never experience Santorini like that again in my life. The beauty as well, was meeting all these amazing Greek people and sharing moments with them, because that’s what life is about. It filled my head with joy.
Any personal highlight from the trip?
When we were on the catamaran in the middle of the beautiful blue sea – that was just amazing. That was bliss. Diving into that water. And the other highlight for me was Athens, seeing the sights, because I just love history so much. When you think about all the Greek history – 2500BC – they were starting what we know society to be now. I tried to speak to Gordon and Gino about it but they were just not interested. Also, when we were in the Olympic stadium, that was very emotional for me because of my daughter. And then I beat Gordon in a race! I was always going to. But he wants to win, so he’s full of mind games. He put on a brave face. But I beat him at swimming in France and now I’ve beaten him at running in Greece! Hah. What can I do?
What was the best thing you ate or drank?
The lobster was sweet, tasty, so moist with the sauce that Gordon made, it was very, very good. Also the moussaka we had was delicious. And the wine we had in Santorini was incredible – well made, very well balanced, lots of flavor and depth, a bit of oak, you could taste the sun!
Who was the best captain?
Gino was good actually, but he’s just a nutcase. Gordon doesn’t like having someone else take control so he just complains, but Gino has his license, he is the captain and has more experience driving boats than Gordon! It upstaged Gordon but it made him laugh too.
Your daughter has just competed in the diving at the Olympics and you did some impressive diving for the lobster in Greece – does it run in the family?!
I am not a good diver. We had to dive 5m underwater for the lobster and it was very difficult. As for diving from a board, I have tried it, I went for five days this year and took lessons. My heart was beating so fast stood on the board. I jumped from 10m but only feet first. The best I could do was head first from 5m. After five days I was covered in really heavy bruising. I will never do it again, unless people pay me a lot of money! So I know only too well how difficult it is and what an achievement it is to just throw yourself off that board. My daughter is an athlete and she trains every single day. She was British champion aged 15. She really wanted to go to the Olympics and she trained so hard. But she had to go by herself. I was so worried but on the day it actually started my nerves went. I knew she was going to go to the final, I knew it in my heart.
How would you describe your companions on this trip?
Gordon is like a big baby, he gets upset, he likes to throw his toys out of the pram. He’s always right, even more so when he is wrong. And he just wants to talk about how good he is. He can’t help it. As for Gino, he just wants to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it and he doesn’t care about anything. Except mozzarella. He only wants to talk about mozzarella.
In saying that, I love them just like they are. It’s live and let live. As much as they drive me mad they are also incredibly inspiring. They have achieved incredible things in their lives and I learn a lot from them. I like to be around people who motivate me. They inspire me and bottom line is they make me laugh. I cannot tell you how much the adventures are unpredictable. Nothing else I do in my life is as unpredictable as this. On and off camera. What you see on camera is exactly the same. Well, actually it’s a slightly tamed version of what is happening off camera! But our motto is ‘the party will never end’ and I just never know what is going to happen next.
The Greek Islands were amazing, I loved discovering all the local food and traditions. The people were brilliant and so welcoming to us