k Martin and Shirlie Kemp k
k We're the kids of Balearica k
Pop music’s golden couple have seen it all in Ibiza. He was and still is the cool bass player in one of the biggest bands in the 80s swaggering about the famous Ku stage in 1981 with Spandau Ballet, she was part of the most famous song ever associated with Ibiza with the video filmed at Pikes with Wham! We catch up with two of our favourite people on the planet as they open their kitchen door and reveal all about their love and hates in their food world…
Martin, Shirlie welcome to the launch of issue of LoveFoodIbiza. So, who is top dog in the kitchen at your house?
Shirlie: I do all the cooking, I do a great curry although I have to admit I put every Indian spice I have in the cupboard in it. But marinating the chicken in spiced yohgurt is a must as it tenderises the meat, there’s nothing worse to me than tough meat!
Martin: Shirlie is a better cook than me, her food is really wholesome and healthy. I’m not a big meat eater anymore so we usually eat chicken as a meat dish. I always say to her, just cook something easy…well it always looks easy when I don’t cook it!
You have both traveled the world thanks to the careers. What is the most unusual food you have ever tried?
Martin: Live mollusc sushi in Japan!
Shirlie: Wham! were the first western band to play in China and on arrival we were all invited to a huge banquet with government officials to celebrate what was such a huge occasion. Unfortunately I sat the whole evening saying ‘no thank you’ as monkey brain were not something I had any curiosity to try. In fact I lived off of strawberry milkshakes for two weeks as I could not eat any of the food there, everything was grey in colour and had strange textures. The funniest thing was the backstage catering. You can get quite spoilt with catering when on tour and quite easily put on weight with all those deserts just sitting there. But in China all the food was served in big tin bowls and placed on the floor and somehow I lost my appetite…strawberry milkshakes to the rescue!
The dish that reminds you of your childhood…
Shirlie: A roast dinner. My mother loved cooking (unlike me) and her roast dinners to this day are unbeatable, I miss her and I miss those roast dinners. The plates were so full, the first time she made one for Martin he didn’t think he’d be able to get through it. Mash potato, roast potatoes, huge Yorkshire puddings, three veg, meat…and lot’s of Bisto!!
Martin: It has to be pie ‘n’ mash!
Shirlie you are part of Ibiza music history thanks to the Wham! video for ‘Club Tropicana’ being filmed at Pikes. What are your memories from that trip with Pepsi, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley?
George and I went to Ibiza a bit earlier before the shoot and stayed in a funny little hotel in San Antonio. We were totally upgraded once the crew came out and moved to Pikes which I thought was the prettiest hotel I had ever seen, covered in stunning bright pink bougainvillaea flowers. In actual fact, I compared every hotel I stayed in to Pikes for years! The actual shoot was maybe the best video I have ever been involved in, usually they are so boring and long hours and sometimes in cold big ugly studios, but here we were all so young and skinny, soaking up the sun whilst walking round in bikinis! I laughed so much when I first saw George and Andrew dressed as pilots but when I look back now, I can’t believe how handsome they looked. And of course meeting the legendary Tony Pike, I have never seen a man so happy in a leopard skin thong as Tony! Happy days and happy memories!
What are the biggest changes to the white isle from your visit in the 80s and the island today?
Shirlie: I was so struck by how different Ibiza was when I visited last year in early June. I hadn’t been back since the early 90’s when I had taken my children for a family holiday when I felt the island was just a mass of huge billboards advertising pole dancing and lap dancing clubs. It felt cheap and seedy and I actually thought my love affair with the island was over. Last June however I felt something had changed, the island felt family friendly again with lovely relaxed restaurants which were full of charm, good food and that laid back authentic Ibiza feeling. I knew instantly I would be coming back here again and again…
Martin: Coming back the first thing I noticed was that the battle between San Antonio and Ibiza Town had been settled, the island seemed to be one again if that makes sense.
Martin, Spandau Ballet are back on the island for the first time since their infamous appearance at Ku in 1981 with your gig at Ibiza Rocks later this summer. I was wondering, has the backstage rider changed as you all grew older, is it more juice than Jack these days?
Haha. No, Dan. The rider remains the same. Even the cheeseboard!
And Shirlie, what do you remember about the making of Wham!’s ‘Club Tripicana’…?
“I loved making that video, it was quite simply the best location I have been in to make a video. Unforgettable.
Do you prefer eating on the beach or dinner in one of the beautiful towns or villages on the island?
Shirlie: Well, this is tricky because I’m attracted to different restaurants at different times of day! I think it’s fantastic in Ibiza to have lunch by the sea and dinner either in town or somewhere in the beautiful countryside.
Martin: I always enjoy eating by the sea. I love to have a breeze on me, it’s a big reminder I’m on holiday!
Ibiza has a truly bohemian, hippy vibe. Have you travelled anywhere else in the world so unique?
Shirlie: There are certain parts of California that has that Boho hippy vibe, like Topango Canyon in L.A. But to be honest I love Boho hippy Ibiza most of all! The only problem is what you wear in Ibiza stays in Ibiza, it just doesn’t travel!
A dish you just cannot stomach?
Shirlie: Jellied eels, pigs trotter or ox tongue.
Martin: Pigs trotter as I remember the smell of my mum cooking it as a child and it still makes me feel sick.
Martin, you must have eaten at every major restaurant in London. Where is your favourite?
I have always loved the Ivy as it’s a place I’m really comfortable in and thankfully never get any hassle.
Which country has the best food on the planet?
Martin: For me Italy. The best food in the world.
Shirlie: I love Japanese food. Admittedly I tend to overdose on ginger and soya and find myself gasping for water and something sweet a few hours after eating it…
We hear your children Harley and Roman both love to cook, what are their cooking styles and what are the dishes that have impressed you?
Shirlie: Both our children have cooked their own food for years. Harley is a vegetarian and is amazing at creating a meal from anything that’’s in the fridge and it always feels healthy. Although she seems to be putting everything in the blender at the moment which I am not keen on, too much green gulp going on for me. Roman studied nutrition and got very in to the eating clean regime. As I mentioned, my mum used to love to cook and would always bake with them when they were little so the oven and cooking was never something that they were intimated by, they liked the independence of cooking their own food. Roman prefers to eat much later than the rest of us so I will often go to bed as he starts cooking.
And finally, what have been the biggest disasters one of you have ever cooked for one another…?
Shirlie: The first roast dinner I ever tried to cook was for Martin and I didn’t own a strainer. I ended tipping most of the food down the sink and had to grab it all back out, but he didn’t notice! Unwashed spinach is also a pain, I remember having friends over and realising there was lots of grit in the spinach which literally ruined the whole meal. So I always make sure it says washed and ready to eat when I buy it now.
If you could have a master-class with any master chef…who would it be and why?
Martin: Giorgio Locatelli.
Shirlie: Mary Berry because she cooks just like my mum. I miss having that warm, wise cook around.
Spandau Ballet will be appearing at Ibiza Rocks on August 19th. All details at…