A London duo puts Willy Wonka to shame.
From vast glow-in-the-dark jelly installations to a cloud of breathable cocktail to an “occult jam” infused with a strand of hair from the late Princess Diana, Sam Bompas and Harry Parr’s gastronomic experiments have been wowing London’s party scene for the past three years. Childhood friends, Bompas and Parr initially made their mark by inviting leading architects, including Lord Norman Foster, to design a building-inspired gelatin mold as part of 2008’s London Festival of Architecture. “When the whole thing ended with an all-out food fight and architects wrestling in jelly, we knew we were onto something,” Bompas explains. Since then their projects have included a walk-through dining experience spanning 730 years of food history, an Architectural Punchbowl (for which they flooded a stately Robert Adam building with four tons of punch), and, most recently, their own artisanal chewing gum factory. “We’re particularly keen on the idea of microencapsulation in food right now,” he says. “So with many of the chewing gums, it was about sneakily hiding one flavor within another.” Next up are two of the pair’s most ambitious works to date: a hothouse, located at an international airport (they can’t say which one just yet), filled with poisonous plants from which they plan to make and serve nonpoisonous cocktails; and a floating banquet hall, shaped like a pineapple and big enough to accommodate dozens of people, in the middle of the River Thames. “Every day is a joy for us,” says Bompas. “We basically make all our dreams come true” (jellymongers.co.uk).