Tom Parker Bowles – food writer, media personality and, you know, son of the Duchess of Cornwall – would much rather wolf down a Mexican taco at a street food pop-up than he would settle down to a seven-course tasting menu in a Michelin-starred London restaurant. “My tastes are on the street,” he explains when we first meet, and I tell him I live in Brixton.

We’re currently sitting at the Coburg Bar at The Connaught – hardly an establishment for the masses, but before I even have the chance to raise an eyebrow in scepticism at his statement, Parker Bowles whittles off the name of three or four of his favourite dining spots Brixton Village. “What I love is, 20 years ago the only street food was one of those really sort of dodgy donkey cock sausages that you'd find outside Buckingham Palace late at night. Now there’s real street food and a pop-up scene.”

Parker Bowles talks breathlessly, eloquently, at 100mph, but it’s when I quiz him about his involvement in London Union – the ambitious project from the founders of Street Feast, which aims to create a permanent, large food market in central London next year – that he ramps it up to 110. Clearly, this is a concept he’s very passionate about. “It’s fantastic because it means rather than having to get the investors for a restaurant, you can get the money together to get a food truck or a pop-up – and it's democratic. It opens it up and that's fantastic.”

As well as London Union, Parker Bowles is currently lending his name to a brand with loftier, far more old-school credentials: Rémy Martin, whose special edition cognacs can sell for anything up to £3.5k a bottle. He has teamed up with the cognac house to host a food pairing workshop at its pop-up members’ club La Maison, open throughout November. When I ask him about the collaboration: “It's a great product; it has a history; it has style and beauty – all the things I don't have,” he explains, with typical self-deprecation. “Just as wine is an expression of the grape, so is cognac. With Rémy Martin it’s so easy to say, ‘Wow, this is one of the great cognac houses’, and there’s an art that goes into it. Having a cognac at the end of dinner, especially after a long night, it's so civilised. It makes me feel grown-up. I know I'm 40, with children, but still!”

Do his children share his love of food? “My son loves sushi and Chinese food, which makes me very proud. And my daughter likes Italian. We have this pizza oven at home that you put on top of your cooker and it gets to 400 degrees and you make your own dough and chuck in a pizza. The kids are obsessed with that.”

Twenty years ago the only street food was one of those really sort of dodgy donkey cock sausages that you'd find outside Buckingham Palace late at night. Now there’s real street food and a pop-up scene

His children and his wife recently accompanied him to Australia, where Parker Bowles appeared as a judge on reality TV show The Hot Plate, in which teams of restaurateurs go head-to-head as they dine at each other's restaurants and are judged according to their food. Parker Bowles is refreshingly frank when he talks about taking up the opportunity. “Listen, they ring up and say, ‘Do you want to go to Australia for three months? You can take the children out, you can take your wife out, and it's autumn, and you'll have a house in Bondi….’ I love Australia and I've been a couple of times for [feature] stories, but this was actually living there and going to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and it's just fantastic food, great people. It was a real experience.

“In the UK, we occasionally tend to be a bit hidebound by tradition or history. There's a freedom in Australia, there's a, ‘Screw it, mate’. There's not so much formality. It was great to see this vibrant, very strong food culture out there.”

During his time out in Australia he was taken to some of the country’s finest restaurants by Melbourne chef and The Hot Plate co-star Scott Pickett (“it was like going round the Vatican with the Pope”, he grins), but again his enthusiasm surges when he talks about the country’s street offerings. “The Thai food, the Vietnamese food – it's like the stuff you'd eat in Thailand, mind-blowing, none of the edges rubbed off. That was the stuff I liked, the slightly filthy stuff, and that was brilliant.”

It’s not the first time Parker Bowles has gone in search of what he calls the “filthy stuff” for work. Like a lot of hardcore chefs and critics, Parker Bowles isn’t phased by eating “blood and guts and insects”, and confesses that he sampled dog while on a visit to Korea for his 2007 book A Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes. “With that book, I was trying to say ‘Look, nothing's inherently disgusting.’ We tend to go, ‘Ugh, they eat insects. Ugh, they eat dog’. I mean, dog's a bit different, but what we eat is what we're brought up on…” It might have been a lesson in “culinary relativism”, but Parker Bowles still grimaces at the memory of eating it. “Just that smell – when you have dogs and they've been outside, wet, and they come in… It smelt of damp dead dog. It was very grainy and gamey. There's no organic dog standards, there are no ethical dogs. I wouldn’t do it again.”

I talk very fast and I walk very fast. Cooking slows me down. I find it relaxing and I just really, really enjoy cooking. I cook most nights.

Parker Bowles’ passion for food is palpable. It started as a boy growing up in leafy Wiltshire, where his “good English cook” of a mother would roast chicken, baked eggs and pies. His time at his boarding preparatory school, Summerfields, was less wholesome on the food front, and he slates the institution for representing “everything that was bad about British food.” Yet the school's “great flaps of over-salty bacon with scum all over them and greasy fried eggs” are probably responsible for his choice of career. “[Summerfields] changed this nice healthy appetite for English food into greed and into obsession. I was always hunting out food and started collecting cookbooks. I suppose that's weird and geeky”, he laughs. Still now, Parker Bowles will scour charity shops for first issues of cookbooks, devouring their contents in bed at night.

An obsession it may be, but it’s a cathartic one for Parker Bowles, who has written for Tatler, Esquire, GQ, and now has a regular column in the Mail on Sunday. “I'm very untidy everywhere else around the house and disorganised but in the kitchen, I'm totally changed round. I'm regimented”, he smiles. “I talk very fast and I walk very fast. Cooking slows me down. I find it relaxing and I just really, really enjoy cooking. I mean, I cook my children's food most of the time. I cook most nights.”

His cupboard essentials? “Good salt, either Halen Môn or Maldon or Cornish Sea Salt Company. Tabasco – I'm a Tabasco freak – I take it on the plane everywhere because plane food is so rubbish. And maybe something like Worcester Sauce. I just love that because it's so exotic. It's like HP sauce or brown sauce: it has that sort of colonial history to it but yet it has that very British taste.”

“If someone else if paying,” his favourite blowout restaurant is Le Gavroche; his favoured chef is Brett Graham at the Ledbury; while his most-loved City haunts are L'Anima, Boisdale and Duck & Waffle. His eyes light up when he starts talking about London restaurants and the eclecticism of the capital’s food scene. “The greatness of London is the fact that there’s immigration. I love that you can walk down the Edgware Road in the summer and you could be in Lebanon; or New Malden for Korea; or Southall for Punjabi food.”

Street food for Parker Bowles is as much about accessibility as it is finding the hot new place to eat and be seen in: “It's just casual, but yet casual doesn't mean it's bad. I get hugely over-excited by it all. It’s not pretentious or elitist, it's just good.”

Whether you’re eating in a lavish, eye-wateringly expensive Michelin-starred London restaurant or you’re chewing on a Texan chicken wing on a Shoreditch street corner, there’s something about eating that brings us all together for Parker Bowles, who views food almost whimsically: “Food is a prism through which you can see anything: history, economics, sociology, anthropology,” he tells me. “And in its most basic level, food is a one shared experience we have. We can be celibate, we can dodge our taxes, we can do whatever, but food – whether you like it or love it – we still have this shared universal experience of eating. That’s why I love it.” Parker Bowles: we’ll be seeing you at a new Brixton pop-up soon, no doubt.

Tom Parker Bowles is hosting a masterclass on 25 November at La Maison Rémy Martin . The pop-up members' club is open from 4pm – midnight from 3-27 November. To apply for membership, visit