Q&A

Tom Parker Bowles, food

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - Front Page - By Penny Durham Pho­tog­ra­phy Josh Roben­stone ◖ ◗

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

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