Sam Bompas & Harry Parr: 'Arzak's food was so good I almost proposed to my girlfriend'

My earliest food memory...

SB (left): My mother making an amazing castle cake with tiny men descending the battlements. She used every different-shaped tin she owned; it was awesome.

HP: Foot-long fish fingers at Little Chef. There's something exciting about being on a journey and having strange new food experiences which your parents wouldn't necessarily want you to have.

My store-cupboard essentials...

SB: 24-carat gold. It costs around £25 for 25 sheets. It doesn't have any flavour, but it makes for the most over-the-top desserts – it sparkles and is quite magical.

HP: Marmite is useful for a lot of things, such as making onion gravy for bangers and mash. I also have a collection of jellies from around the world, thoughour own Hartley's jelly cubes are the best.

My favourite cookbook...

SB: Les Diners de Gala by Salvador Dali. It's bonkers but wonderful: it has all these massive double-page spreads of him eating among piles of frogs' legs and ice swans, and recipes for suckling pig with eels and a Casanova cocktail, which Dali says will give you a hard-on if you drink it.

HP: Any of Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail books, and Simon Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and Other Stories. Also, I recently got into Food Processing Technology by PJ Fellows, about cooking on an industrial scale. It's deeply inaccessible, which makes it sort of magical.

My favourite food shop...

SB: I love getting lost in the Whisky Exchange or Gerry's [Old Compton Street, London] which have these vast libraries of rare and obscure spirits. I also like going to weird off-licences in the middle of nowhere which have freaky liqueurs that have been on the shelves for years. I recently found a bottle called Forbidden Fruit, which is lychee- and passion fruit-flavoured.

HP: Pages [catering equipment] in Shaftesbury Avenue always has fun things. Also, Billingsgate Market is incredible: there's something satisfying about getting up super-early to go there, and it has a great café that does amazing bacon, scallop and cheese butties.

My top table...

SB: The best meal I ever had was in Arzak in San Sebastian [Spain]. I was walking past it with my girlfriend and they had a free table, purely by chance. It was so good, I almost proposed to her, but I managed to tell myself it was the meat talking.

HP: Zucca in Bermondsey. It does amazing Italian food and a really good negroni, which is a cocktail made from campari, gin and vermouth.

My desert-island dish...

SB: A burger. Nothing brings fat and sugar and salt and carbohydrate and meat into such perfect harmony.

HP: Ice would be exciting on a desert island – a big block with seafood on top.

The strangest thing I've ever eaten...

SB: The most disgusting thing was a zebra-meat jelly. We were bullied into making it for a TV show, and it was filth. Luckily, I tasted it off air because I probably would have puked on camera.

HP: A giant prawn in Malaysia: the head was the size of my fist; it was grotesque. Because it was so big, the way to eat it is first to rip of the head and suck out all the corals, so we did that, and the flavour was beautifully sweet. After that, we were about to start on the body and they said, "Don't bother; you've had the best bit."

My pet hates...

SB: The term "foodie". You can't have a normal conversation with someone who introduces themselves like that.

HP: People who apologise for their cooking. It doesn't matter what the food tastes like: the gift of cooking and sharing food goes beyond that.

Bompas & Parr are jelly-mongers, food experimentalists and culinary event curators. They will be running the Rabbit Café at Churchill Square, Brighton, from Monday to Wednesday and are creating the world's first walk-in chocolate waterfall at Whiteleys Shopping Centre, London W2, from Friday to 25 April ( jellymongers.co.uk)

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture