Who is your favourite chef? If you’re like me (and have good taste), then Gino is in your Top Three, which is why the following news will make your day. The UK’s favourite Italian chef, Gino D’Acampo, moves into premium casual dining with the launch of his restaurant brand: Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant.

Launching in a few days’ time (come on, Thursday 17th December 2015, I can’t wait!), Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant, Corn Exchange, Manchester will be the first location to open, quickly followed by a site in Euston train station, London in January 2016.

Gino has teamed up with friend and business partner Steven Walker, founder of Individual Restaurants. Gino has invested in Individual Restaurants and their ab fab food academy, which includes a cool butchers shop and bakery, to ensure everything is made in-house rather than buying in simple yet important items like artisan breads and patisserie.

I can personally vouch for the delicious food served at Individual Restaurants, having reviewed The Restaurant Bar & Grill from the Individual Restaurant stable (which you can read here). Gino’s Manchester location will seat 250 guests and offers a sit at Cicchetti and kitchen bar, with the addition of two large outside areas, one of which leads onto the bustling Exchange Square, facing high end retailer Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. What a way to people watch, right? More UK sites will follow and Gino also has his eyes on international locations, so watch this space for hot off the press news.

Gino made the move into fast casual dining in 2013 with the launch of Gino D’Acampo – My Pasta Bar, serving a variety of Italian favourites, including hand-made pasta dishes and hand-stretched pizzas to eat in or take away. Three London locations are currently operating at Fleet Street, Leadenhall Market and Bishopsgate. It’s nice to see a chef to spread the culinary love countrywide and not just be London-centric. Why not come on over to Derby too (which is where yours truly is based)?

Gino’s passion for all things Italian is well-known (he’s a wonderful larger than life character, that one) and in particular, his dedication to bringing the best of Italian cucina onto our screens and into our homes. The third series of Gino’s Italian Escapes will be broadcast later this year (each series regularly attracts 3m viewers and is accompanied by a best-selling cookbook).

Gino promises to serve real Italian food as it should be, whilst keeping his offering affordable for guests. No compromises will be made, ensuring the use of well-sourced, seasonal and artisan ingredients, showcasing his vast contacts across the diverse regions of Italy.

A move into premium casual dining has been in the planning for year, but owing to Gino’s busy television schedule and many other commitments, getting it off the ground has taken him a little longer than he would have hoped.

Gino said: “I have been approached many times over the years to open restaurants,  but it was Steven’s passion for Italian cucina, his eye for detail and his insistence that he would only partner me if I were truly involved, that attracted me to finally take the plunge. I’m excited to be creating the new menus for the restaurant and I’m going to be including lots of favourites from my books and TV programmes.”

For bookings and further information please contact [email protected], or for more information, hop on over to www.individualrestaurants.com now.

*PR acquired from Individual Restaurants blog*