Tom Parker Bowles, food
What’s it like to go out for dinner with your mother and stepfather, aka Camilla and Prince Charles? I eat out a lot with my mother at about six or seven restaurants. Apart from having a couple of fantastic PPOs [personal protection officers] sitting anonymously there, it makes no difference. My stepfather is incredibly busy, but we’ve been out a couple times with him. He’s a great champion of food – he’s forgotten far more than I’ll ever know about British food and farming.
You’re a foodie family? We all love eating and going out to restaurants and talking about food and cooking. My dad’s a good gardener, good at shooting and fishing. My mother’s a good cook. All those things, the seasonal, the local, the organic – growing up on a farm, these were normal. They weren’t an excuse to charge more cash and say, “Look at me.”
Have you ever been tempted to work as a chef, start a restaurant? I know full well what hard bloody work it is to be a restaurant chef, so no! A lot of my mates are chefs and by God, they work hard, they have no life. A Matt Moran or a Scott Pickett, they give up a lot. I’m a very happy lazy amateur.
The reputation of British food has improved enormously… London is for me one of the great eating cities on Earth – alongside Melbourne – because of all the immigration.
Are you worried about what Brexit might mean for British food? Brexit is the most mighty bugger-up of all time for me. I can’t see any upside – I think it’s a travesty and a tragedy.
Your books include Let’s Eat Meat. Do you embrace the nose-to-tail approach? Oh yes. If you eat meat, it’s rude not to eat every part. Let’s eat less meat but let’s eat better. I cannot bear finger-wagging over food, I hate this whole clean-eating bollocks. I think we should have a healthy, pragmatic way with food and try to eat lots of fruit and veg. But I love a McDonald’s cheeseburger, I love fries. I love all food. Apart from goats’ cheese. What restaurant trends annoy you? I hate when you go in and they say, “Have you dined here before? Do you understand the concept?” Well, yeah: I eat the food, I pay, and I bugger off. I don’t want to know your “philosophy”, and I don’t want it to take more time to explain the dish than it does to eat it.
What food do you enjoy the most? Really good Thai food or Indian, great modern British, classic French, classic Italian. I appreciate haute cuisine but on the whole I want to eat Mexican and regional Chinese done well at poky places in the suburbs.
You’re in Australia to be a judge on Family Food Fight. Did Nine have to twist your arm? Not at all. Melbourne for the first series was fun. Sydney you fall in love with immediately, but once Melbourne gets you, you think, “Wow, this is one hell of a city.”
What’s the most compelling thing about the show? It highlights not just eating together and recipes that any family can cook, but also the multiculturalism of Australia. This year we’ve got a family with Afghan roots – I knew very little about Afghan food and I’ve been blown away.
Would you do the show with your own family? I’d probably do it with my sister [Laura Lopes]. My mother and I would argue. That wouldn’t work. She has her strong views. Season Two of starts on Monday, 7.30pm on Nine