TOM PARKER BOWLES:

Break­ing from ilm­ing a new se­ries of Fam­ily Food Fight, Tom Parker Bowles tells Juliet Rieden about the joys of step­dad Prince Charles’ veg­gie patch.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by JOHN PAUL URIZAR STYLING by MICHELE CRANSTON

fam­ily favourites from the Bri­tish foodie

Tom Parker Bowles says his love of food stems “en­tirely from greed. I just love eat­ing!” And though he’s laugh­ing, Tom’s re­ally not jok­ing. In Bri­tain the 43-year-old son of Camilla, the Duchess of Corn­wall, is a cel­e­brated food critic and writer, and for two months of the year he hops over here to work for the Nine Net­work as a judge on the home cook­ing TV re­al­ity show Fam­ily Food Fight.

Food is Tom’s day job but there’s no ques­tion it’s also his pas­sion, lling ev­ery wak­ing hour. “There’s noth­ing I’d rather do for ve hours with a glass of wine on a Satur­day than make curry paste – I love chillis – and just start cook­ing, cook­ing, cook­ing,” he beams. “My chil­dren – Lola, 10 and Freddy, eight – get fu­ri­ous with me be­cause the moment I get up in the morn­ing I say, ‘when shall we have lunch and what shall we have for din­ner?’”

That all-con­sum­ing greed started with de­vour­ing his mum’s cook­ing and then feel­ing its lack when faced with grim English board­ing school food. “We grew up in the coun­try on a farm. My wife pales when I men­tion my mum’s roast chicken again but it is a dish that I loved. We had lots of roasts, pies, stews. We grew up with all those buzz words that they use now like sea­sonal and or­ganic. We knew that as­para­gus came in late spring, peas and straw­ber­ries came in sum­mer, game and mush­rooms in au­tumn. Then I was sent to board­ing school when I was eight and the food was re­ally gen­uinely dis­gust­ing.”

Tom’s own prow­ess in the kitchen didn’t de­velop un­til after univer­sity. “I was liv­ing in Lon­don and it was al­ways good to be able to in­vite a girl round to din­ner and cook for them. It was a sort of a chat up line, I sup­pose.”

Tom says he still goes to his mum’s home, Ray Mill in the Cotswolds, for lunch but that mum and son never cook together. “We ar­gue in the kitchen. If we were on Fam­ily Food Fight we’d last ve min­utes.”

In­stead, for qual­ity time Tom goes out to res­tau­rants with his mum ev­ery cou­ple of weeks. And as a cook he says the bril­liant perk of hav­ing the Prince of Wales in his fam­ily is the in­cred­i­ble veg he’s gifted from the royal’s or­ganic patches. “Prince Charles has the most amaz­ing veg­etable gar­dens. When we go up to Birkhall in Scot­land, the great treat for the chil­dren is pick­ing the peas and broad beans straight off the stem.”

Tom’s tasty favourites

The noo­dle dish (op­po­site) is prob­a­bly the meal I cook more than any other, and we eat it at least twice a week at home. You can use what­ever veg­eta­bles you have to hand – it even makes that ridicu­lous baby corn look use­ful. The key is a bal­ance be­tween the hot, sour and salty.

I love the Rhubarb and Gin­ger Crum­ble be­cause I’m not a pas­try man. A maker of the stuff, I mean, rather than an eater, which I most cer­tainly am. Too much pre­ci­sion needed. You don’t want the top­ping too thick: no more than half an inch. It should flat­ter and add con­trast to the soft fill­ing, not over­whelm it.

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