Culi­nary ex­per­i­men­tal­ists Sam Bom­pas and Harry Parr and their 20-strong team have launched a new be­spoke cater­ing busi­ness

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How Bom­pas & Parr have evolved from jel­ly­mak­ers to ex­pe­ri­en­tial chiefs

Lon­don-based Bom­pas & Parr may have started out by creat­ing craft jelly, but it has rapidly ex­panded into a fully-fledged cre­ative stu­dio of­fer­ing food and drink de­sign. Its lat­est ven­ture is a cater­ing di­vi­sion spe­cial­is­ing in mul­ti­sen­sory ex­pe­ri­en­tial events. Sam Bom­pas ex­plains why the com­pany is branch­ing out.

What fas­ci­nates you about food in gen­eral, and the cross­over with ex­pe­ri­en­tial de­sign in par­tic­u­lar?

Well, we swiftly learnt that if you slap a jelly on the ta­ble, ev­ery­one smiles and shares some nos­tal­gic tale. But to ap­proach the scale we sought, we had to work on de­sign­ing com­plete ex­pe­ri­ences around the jelly, ad­dress­ing all the senses and bor­row­ing from dis­ci­plines be­yond the realm of the culi­nary. This in­cluded ar­chi­tec­ture, bio­chem­istry, magic, tox­i­col­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, psy­chol­ogy and py­rotech­nics. In each case the dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines are or­ches­trated to gen­er­ate a spe­cific emo­tional re­sponse – much like slap­ping a jelly on the ta­ble!

Can you give a cou­ple of great ex­am­ples that sum up your ap­proach?

We re­ally push for max­i­mal in­ten­sity of ex­pe­ri­ence and am­bi­tion. and then try to re­flect on what we’ve learnt. Past ex­am­ples of work in­clude cook­ing with lava at 1,350 de­grees Cel­sius, creat­ing a walk-in cloud of G&T that in­tox­i­cates through the lungs and eye­balls, and a 200-course meal with dishes drop­ping ev­ery 7 min­utes and 14 sec­onds for 24 hours.

Talk us through the think­ing be­hind your new cater­ing busi­ness....

The new busi­ness means that any­one can com­mis­sion a Bom­pas & Parr feast. Some of the party pieces we can bring to your house are pretty af­ford­able, in­clud­ing a whisky tor­nado and Cham­pagne bub­ble ma­chine. Each case has in­volved a host of work and re­search with aca­demics and ex­perts but more than that, it’s fun.

How does your in-house cater­ing de­part­ment op­er­ate?

We have about 40 or so projects on the go at any one time, be­ing de­liv­ered at a rate of a cou­ple a week. So a six-month lead time is tremen­dous, but by no means nec­es­sary. We can turn rel­a­tively com­plex lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges around in days. Last year we built a bar en­tirely staffed by mer­men mixol­o­gists in West­field with just five weeks from the brief to go­ing live. So if you’re think­ing of some­thing epic for your Christ­mas party, there’s still time…

To what ex­tent is the ser­vice be­spoke?

We have a set menu but this is re­ally for in­spi­ra­tion; for the most part we de­velop some­thing fresh each time.

How was your launch event re­ceived?

The Feast of Flow­ers was a to­tal sen­sory as­sault of flo­ri­og­ra­phy. From sip­ping wel­come shots from car­niv­o­rous plants, to a fi­nale of Per­rier-Jouët ed­i­ble bub­bles, there were scores of gus­ta­tory plea­sures.­pasand­

PHO­TO­GRAPH: Ste­fan Braun

Dy­namic culi­nary duo Bom­pas & Parr are no strangers to the­atri­cal show­man­ship, from pro­duc­ing a walk-in cloud of gin and tonic to cook­ing with lava.

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