BOMPAS & PARR: JELLYMONGERS EXTRAORDINAIRE
Although people find it hard to believe, there are some downsides to my new life as a food writer. The number of bad meals I have to eat is dispiriting, particularly when I look back on how much cold hard cash from my own pocket I have spent doing so.
However, there are of course, many upsides and not least is the fact that most people I encounter in the business are usually even passionate than I am and far more generous both with their product and their time. They are also an eccentric lot, from the bickering Hartland clan squabbling their way through the week as they make a thousand pork pies to my new chum, Henrietta Lovell who sells some of the best tea imaginable out of her flat in Camden.
Few people I encounter, I suspect will be more eccentric than Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, two engaging 25yr olds who I was lucky enough to meet with last week. I first encountered the name during a supper at Hawksmoor where, at the end of the meal, we were presented with quivering jellies in the shape of the Temple of Mausollus, which with a few gallons of ice cream proved the perfect end to a perfect meal.
I was so taken with the jellies, that when I found out about Sam & Harry who made the moulds, I arranged to meet them at their office just South of Southwark Bridge.
The Hawksmoor inspired jelly, it transpires was just the tip of the iceberg (more of icebergs later) and the two young men, previously in PR and architecture respectively struck me as being more like performance artists and mad scientists than foodies and it is little wonder that they will be featured in Heston Blumenthal’s next TV series.
So far, they have persuaded the great architectural firms of the world to enter a competition to design the most extraordinary moulds possible, a competition, which ended with a jelly-wrestling contest in the quad of University College London. They were invited to create a jelly for Lord Richard Roger’s birthday party, which they did in the shape of his new Barajas airport in Madrid and, more altruistically, they recently cheered up the staff and patients of The Royal London Hospital by wheeling around a stupendous dessert trolley, dishing out plates of pudding to those tired of hospital food.
Future plans are just as varied, including the idea of pulling an iceberg up the Thames (you knew there was a point in there somewhere) and even making something fun for the next Dine With Dos Hermanos supper.
Before I left this whirlwind of creativity, Sam & Harry insisted that they make me some ice cream. Being Bompas & Parr, this was no ordinary ice cream and consisted of a cone of cooked pineapple and double cream taken to the correct consistency with the addition of dry ice. What else? My mouth was still tingling a few hours later.
Jelly has a long and noble part to play in British history and I am definitely going to add it to my list for EATING FOR BRITAIN. Bompas & Parr have invited me to join them at some of their many events during the next year.
For some reason, that scares me as much as it excites me. In any event, keep an eye out for them, it’s lovable nutjobs like this that makes Britain what it is