k LoveFoodIbiza TV Show k
Words: Abigail Lowe
Images: La Skimal / Dan Prince
It’s been a big year for Tess Prince, Ibiza’s very own wonder woman who’s fast becoming the island’s most in demand chef. She’s launched her own website – LoveFoodIbiza – a work of love that’s dedicated to her passion for food; she’s cooked for Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, who fell for the famous Prince charm and consequently have made it their personal aim to unlock all of Tess’ potential; and internationally esteemed food critic, Tara Stevens, has classified one of her desserts in the same league as world-renowned chef Ferran Adriá – praise indeed. Now, thanks to encouragement from friends, family, and some of the food industry’s most prominent figures, she’ll be seeing out the year with the launch of her very own TV show, filmed in partnership with Mike Parry of Lucky Life.
For those who know Tess, this ascent to small screen is no surprise. Her cooking skills are unrivalled and her friendly, quirky personality puts a smile on even the most despondent of faces. She’s the embodiment of talent, someone who thinks about food, in her own words, “every second of every day”, and so it was only a matter of time before she branched out to create her own TV show. So it was a moment of serendipitous fortune when this summer she met Mike, whose proficiency behind the camera is well documented, and the wheels for realising the TV dream were finally set in motion. The result of their collaboration is a launch of a six episode series that’s a love letter to Ibiza, its people and its food. Presented by Tess and featuring her inimitable cooking, each episode delving into a different side of the island – an unexplored one that both Tess and Mike are keen to showcase. We caught up with the pair before the show’s YouTube launch on 16th March, to find out more.
Tell us how the idea of a TV show came about.
Tess Prince: Years ago I semi-wrote a cookbook and tried to get it published but I was told I needed to be a well-known chef, so I put that dream to bed. But since being in Ibiza about six people from different areas of my life have all individually said I should do a TV show, and slowly my desire to be something other than a personal chef has grown.
Who has helped fuel that fire?
TP: Well I cooked for Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford when they were in Ibiza filming this summer, and when the cameras weren’t rolling, they were like ‘You’ve got to come on This Morning and be a resident chef on there’. But that’s live TV and that’s very different! But I got on with them so well; they were so divine and encouraging. And Adelaide, a friend of mine who produces the Nigella show told me to do TV. But the one who’s really made me sob is Tara Stevens –throughout my career in food, she’s the one person who’s made me believe in myself. She was the one who said, ‘you’ve got something; you can really put a stamp on it.’ So with her and Eamonn I had two massive seals of approval in a short space of time. And then within two weeks, I’d met Mike.
How did that come about?
Mike Parry: Karon from Essential Ibiza introduced us.
TP: And Karon’s another one who told me I should do TV – you need that encouragement, you know. I don’t have a huge amount of confidence so it really helps. And when we met, Mike completely understood where I was coming from because he’s always wanted to do a TV show like this himself.
The show is loyal to the authentic Ibiza, why was that important for you?
TP: There are some amazing, iconic characters on this island. From women who produce vegetables, to eccentric hippies, to organic farmers – it’s a real mish mash of people. And it’s that that’s reflected in my recipes, because I cover a whole range of styles. One week I’m doing vegan raw food on a solar-panelled catamaran, the next week I’m doing a supersize burger that will have WHO sending me death threats! Nothing I use is from a packet – it’s from the field or the farm or picked from the trees by myself. I like foraging for ingredients! I’m really aware of all the supermarkets coming to the island and I really believe there’ll be a food revolution soon; it will all come back to sustainability, knowing where your food comes from and having respect for it.
MP: In the last year alone 400m less animals were killed in a year; the number stands 9bn currently.
TP: Exactly, it’s all about awareness. I will buy a local free range chicken now that costs 20€, but I use every bit of it and I’m happy its had a pretty decant life.
MP: That’s one thing I’ve really enjoyed about the show from a personal point of view so far. Standing behind the camera I can see how we’re going to create a high level of awareness. I already had it in part, but watching the show is cementing it for me – food doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. So with each show we focus on three different guests and three different foods or products – and that includes visiting a local shop or foraging for yourself.
Is there is an abundance of food available on the island?
TP: Yes! I always take my wicker basket with me when I’m walking the four dogs, and I pick things as I go. In the campo the other day I stumbled across a quince tree, a pomegranate tree and a persimmon tree all in the same place. And this is what I’m doing with my recipes – fusing seasonal things that grow together. I’m obsessed with this woman called Joyce Goldstein at the moment and her philosophy is ‘what grows together goes together’. So at the moment my cooking is going back to basics with a feminine twist.
So is there a particular theme to each episode?
MP: We had a few different ways of doing it, and one thing that stopped us trying to cover everything was the hope that there won’t just be one series – there’ll be many. But we’ve got a three-location structure per episode and we’ve covered the island geographically – so we’ve got something in the east, something in the west – and we’ve tried to capture different elements and different iconic sites.
TP: Our aim was to support artisans, island icons and the island itself. There’s a movement towards healthy living here and we want to highlight that.
MP: We’ve included some DJs as well – Eats Everything is on the show – so we’re not showing that that island doesn’t exist, we just want to show a different side as well. My thoughts on the show are, do you love food? Do you love Ibiza? If so, you’ll love the show with Tess Prince – it’s as simple as that. It’s food, people and Ibiza, all with this lady’s character.
Have islanders been receptive to the show?
TP: Honestly, I’ve had so much warmth from people – they’ve become my friends. So it’s been great to help them out and thank them too. The show is basically me showing who I hang out with!
MP: Exactly. It’s Tess showing what she’s discovered over the past three years of being on the island. So yes, she’s been to Pikes, but she’s also been to El Carmen and tasted some incredible authentic paella. I’ve done a lot of different productions with many people, and they come with their own challenges. But right from the beginning with this one it’s gone to plan. If something goes wrong, we adapt it. And the energy we’re getting back from people is incredible, everyone is having fun, and that’s really important for us. I’ve spoken to so many people about this, and everyone has said how they can’t wait to watch it. And for me it’s exciting because it’s the kind of programme I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s a cooking show, a reality show, a documentary. We’re hoping to show people what they’re a part of when they’re here on this island. Watching the El Carmen episode you’ll learnt that that restaurant has been there 35 years. It started as a shack on a beach and they’d cook fish they’d caught that day from a barbeque for whoever went down there. Now, 30 years later, it’s the son of the son who’s running it, and it’s that same love and passion that you can taste.
Why is it important for you to support local, family-run businesses?
TP: There are so many restaurants cropping up on the island that are overpriced, just there for the season, to be seen in. The ones I champion are the family-run ones. It’s about giving something back, being fun and true, and not being limited to one box.
MP: This island has 133 nationalities living on it – so that mix of culture, food and language is what Tess’ food reflects. So it makes sense that the food on each episode doesn’t follow a theme – somebody else always brings an element to it. Tess brings an idea, and then someone else adds to it – it’s a fusion effort.
You’ll be able to watch the show exclusively on YouTube, why did you decide to go down that route?
MP: We have created a six-episode series that’s fully filmed, produced and edited by Lucky Life, we own the content, we own the format; we’ve created the entire show ourselves. This way, we protect the island and we take away the option for sensationalism – if you do a pilot for TV then you spend a lot of money on one idea and you lose the control. And it’s not even about getting it on TV – it’s about taking Tess’ amazing brand and using that. If you look at LoveFoodIbiza – Tess’ recipes and the people she interviews – that website already has a lot of wonderful content and vibrancy, and we’re just taking it to the next level. And we’re having a whole load of fun with it to be honest!
So have there been any downsides to filming?
TP: We were filming at Salinas at sunrise, which is painful by any stretch. But these guys have got their expensive camera equipment and we had to row out to this catamaran, with jellyfish ridden waves lapping over the boat. And then I had to cook on the boat with nothing – that’s why I ended up doing a raw cake – so that was challenging!
MP: I’m thinking hard and there were a couple of occasions when we were running around to four different locations throughout the day. But honestly, there haven’t been any lowlights. I’ve made 400 videos on the island but still not one complete TV show, and Tess has made hundreds of recipes but not a TV show. So what’s cool about how we’re working together is that we’re learning as we go, and that makes us very forgiving of each other – there’s been no pressure and it’s been great.
So what were the highlights?
TP: The highlight for me is knowing that this is the beginning of something great. I’m not even expecting anything back from doing it, I’m just happy we are!
MP: For me, it’s that Tess is creating something unique. There are lots of things for Tess to explore, but when you see the episodes you’ll see Tess in full flow and that’s what it’s all about.
What are you hoping to achieve with the show?
MP: We just want to tell great story, share an awesome message and meet great people. Our ultimate aim would be that somebody loves what we do, exactly how we’re doing it, and wants to sponsor us as a brand. But we don’t want to change what we’re doing for somebody else. The core essence of this is that Tess is a very good chef who knows how to make great food, so yes we’re making extravagant episodes with lots of people in great locations, but we could also just film Tess on her terrace with an amazing view behind her and people would still watch. We’re giving people extra!
So are you looking forward to seeing the show?
TP: Totally but I’m going to be watching it in between fingers from behind the sofa!
Love Food Ibiza
Lucky Life TV