Gregg Wallace has invited viewers to accompany him on his travels with new Channel 5 show Gregg Wallace’s Big Weekends Away.
The 12-part series will see the MasterChef host making his way around Europe and discovering some culinary and cultural gems along the way.
On Friday 19th February, Wallace will touch down in one of his favourite cities, Rome, for a three-day weekend break.
And the TV chef has now shared some of the most surprising things he discovered while on his travels.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, he revealed: “The more you spend, the more you’re going to get away from the real city.”
He continued: “We had a chat and the idea was to go and visit European cities, but not do the five star experience because that’s an international experience. If you stay in one of the big five star hotels or Michelin-style restaurants, that seems to be the same experience wherever you go. We tried to get as authentic as we could, and do it without spending a lot of money which is what I do.”
Wallace found that when it came to eating out abroad, it was the less expensive food or what they call in Rome “cucina povera” (poor kitchen) which often tasted better.
“I was really lucky to actually get some guidance from people that live there who showed me stuff. In the case of food, it’s cucina povera, which is like the food of the poor and it has became kind of like a badge of honour. They have a saying in Rome which I love, which is, ‘The more you spend, the worse you eat.”
Similarly, Wallace discovered that there was a lot more culture to be seen than we usually hear about, particularly in Italy.
“We looked at the sites some of the big ones from the outsides obviously like the Colosseum and the Vatican, but we actually found some little hidden gems,” he said.
As well as this, Wallace learned to get the most of out his trip by avoiding the traps tourists usually fall into…
He said: “We love to cram our weekends full of stuff when we go away. We tend to think we have to pack it all in, but the best thing to do is take it slowly and spend time to just sit in a Piazza with a coffee or Aperol spritz and just watch the world go by, wherever you are. I used to do the typical tourist thing right must go here must go there, but that’s the wrong thing to do.”
Gregg Wallace’s Big Weekend in Rome airs tonight (Friday, 19th February) at 9pm on Channel 5. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide. Visit our Documentaries hub for the latest news on the best factual programming.