THE COOK BOOK: 1-to-1 with Tom Parker Bowles

Cook Book author Tom Parker Bowles talks food, Fortnum's, and picks four favourites from our Food Halls

Three hundred years in the making, the first Fortnum's Cook Book is filled with all our most delicious secrets - from how to make our famous Scotch Eggs and afternoon tea scones, to recipes for Fortnum's Welsh Rarebit and Knickerbocker Glory.
With these and so many more mouth-watering stories to tell, we turned to food writer and critic Tom Parker Bowles to help us bring our long history in culinary excellence to life.
The result? Countless pages of extraordinary recipes from breakfast to brunch, lunch to dinner, and dessert to cocktails, all assembled with the help of author Tom.

We caught up with him over - what else? - a pot of tea in The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon to talk food, Fortnum's, and his favourite things from our Food Halls.

'I am completely institutionalised now,' says Tom.

'I was a Fortnum's devotee long before writing this book, but now I've gone a level beyond that. I'm a little obsessed by this point.

'I've really had the chance to discover that Fortnum's is so much more than just a shop. It's a national icon, a British institution - and somewhere that manages to be timeless and innovative; practical, and utterly magical all at once. The recipes in the book illustrate that perfectly, I think.

'The Cook Book is not intended to be a passive coffee table book, but something to be used in the heat of the kitchen; to become battered and splattered from constant use, to become an indispensable, much-loved part of the kitchen for generations. It helps that everything in the book tastes darned good too.'

Speaking of very tasty things, what, we wondered, are Tom's personal Fortnum's favourites? Here are a quartet of his very favourite things from the heart of Piccadilly...

Earl Grey Classic Tea

'I love Fortnum's classic Earl Grey - it has just the right amount of bergamot. It's refreshing, it's got body, it's wonderful at any time of day. Tea perfection, with history enough behind it to prove its merit.'

Glenarm Beef from our Butcher

'Quite simply some of the best - if not the best - beef in the world. It's tender, flavourful, crafted in the most expert and dedicated fashion. Absolutely delicious.'

Rose Petal Jelly

'I love this stuff - from the story of how all the rose petals used to make it come from a solitary Oxfordshire garden, to the beautifully light and sweet taste. Spread on toast, it's a taste of an English country garden in bloom. And what could be better than that?

'The Strawberry and Champagne Preserve runs this very close, and on another day, I might have chosen that. I'd sincerely recommend getting a jar of each.'

Our Wine Department (in general)

'I love Fortnum's Wine Department, every inch of it.

There are so many exceptional bottles there, and best of all many are surprisingly affordable. You can nip into Fortnum's wine department and leave with a bottle of something superb for a tenner.

Though of course, you could very easily spend a little more than that...'