Celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo spills the beans on his Hertfordshire house and what he loves about living in the Home County.

This time two years ago, celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo was gobbling up grubs and insects on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. This year, he’s enjoying being at home in Hertfordshire, and preparing for Christmas.

D’Acampo, who was crowned king of the jungle in 2009, bought his Elstree home about three years ago for a reported £575,000 and has since spent £300,000 renovating the six-bedGino D'Acamporoom home. It’s the third home in England he’s owned and counts himself to be in a very fortunate position.

“I’ve never rented in my life,” he says. “I’ve always been very lucky that the first place that I lived in, I bought it straight away in Borehamwood. Then I bought another house in Borehamwood and then I bought my third and final house in Elstree.”

And the chef and author says he couldn’t be happier about it, although perhaps not for the reason you might think.

“My mother in law lives about a mile away from me, and I get along with my mother in law very very well,” he says, laughing. “Also, my office is there, all my friends are there, I just love the place because you’re very close to everything, you’re on the M25, you’re on the M1, A1 and it’s 20 minutes from London. Elstree is just a great place to be.”

D’Acampo says his stint in the jungle two years ago made him appreciate home, although the affect wore off too fast.

“As human beings we are so stupid,” he says. “It made me appreciate everything for four or five days and then I got back into the same old habits straight away. How weird is that?

“I promised myself that I will be without a mobile phone for one day a week. If I can do it for 24 days, why can I not do it for one day a week? I think it lasted for two weeks.”

D’Acampo, who grew up in Naples, used to own a property on the Italian island of Sardinia but sold it about two years ago for 700,000 euro – a very tidy profit.

“What’s the point of owning a house in Italy if you only go there for two weeks a year?” But he concedes the villa on the beach is still a dream, albeit one he may not realise for a few years.  “When I get older I will probably buy another house in Italy again. It will be on the island of Sardinia because that’s my favourite place in the world.”

Gino D’Acampo is a celebrity ambassador at The Ideal Home Show at Christmas, which is running from November 16 to 20, 2011, at London’s Earls Court. It’s open daily from 10am-6pm and until 9pm on Thursday. Call the ticket hotline on 0844 209 7330, or visit the website.

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