With a team of world-class chefs, access to the best food money can buy and dining rooms in palaces across the UK you would have thought dining times are always glamorous in the house. from Windsor.
Now, the Queen’s former Head Darren McGrady has drawn the curtain and revealed Her Majesty’s private dining habits.
The 58-year-old’s main role during his 15 years at Buckingham Palace was as personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, accompanying her on two royal tours of Australia. He also cooked for five US presidents – Ford, Reagan, Bush Snr, Clinton et Bush Jnr – during their state visits.
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McGrady also worked for other members of the royal family – including Princess Diana and her sons William and Harry at Kensington Palace. He was cooking for Diana the night he died – August 31, 1997. McGrady had already prepared his dinner and was awaiting his return.
Now in her book “Eat Royally: Recipes and Memories from a Palace Kitchen,” McGrady has revealed the Queen’s dining preferences, her favorite dishes, and the things she isn’t a fan of on the dinner table. .
How many meals does the queen eat per day?
McGrady says the Queen has four meals a day – but only eats small portions at each. In a series of YouTube Q&A videos, he says that while he was his personal chef between 1982 and 1993, the Queen ate breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
For breakfast, she keeps it simple. Royal biographer Katie Nicholl has already he told me: “HRH usually starts with a simple cup of tea and cookies, followed by a bowl of cereal. “(The Guardian previously reported, she likes to keep it in Tupperware to preserve its freshness.)
This is before moving on to a grilled fish lunch with spinach or wilted zucchini, selon McGrady. She’s also fond of a simple grilled chicken with salad – a low-carb option.
Then, at the end of the afternoon, McGrady this, the queen will have afternoon tea. (The queen always has scones with jam and sour cream – and she puts jam first).
He explained, “She always had afternoon tea wherever she was in the world. We had flown to Australia and were on the Royal Yacht. It was five in the morning, but for the queen it was five in the afternoon, so my first job was to make scones.
The Queen had 20 chefs in the Royal Kitchen when McGrady worked there. It was Previously reported that the chef would provide the queen with a menu twice a week and then she could choose meals to her liking. McGrady confirmed this was the system in place.
McGrady says that although the Queen never said directly that she didn’t enjoy a meal, she would leave a note in a notebook for the staff. “She had a little book on her desk and she just put a note in it saying ‘I don’t want this anymore’ or something like that,” he explains.
What are the queen’s favorite dishes?
The Queen apparently has a special love for potted Morecambe Bay shrimp on toast. In a question-and-answer video, McGrady said: “They’re cooked and marinated in this secret spicy butter. And then the queen has them with hot toast, and when you spread them on the hot toast, the butter melts.
The Queen might only appreciate small portions of salty food, but McGrady says she’s a sweet tooth. Charbonnel and Walker, Bendicks and Prestat all hold royal mandates, but supermarket brands like Cadbury and Nestle could also be found in the royal household.
“She’s absolutely a chocoholic,” McGrady said. “Anything we put on the menu with chocolate, she chose, especially the Chocolate Perfection Pie. [a layered chocolate pie with white and dark chocolate and chocolate shavings]. «
One of the Queen’s favorite ‘guilty pleasures’ during McGrady’s time as chef was a croque monsieur sandwich, with melted gruyere, ham and whipped eggs, he said.
One of Prince Philip’s favorite dishes was salmon coulibiac, McGrady says, there was always plenty of salmon to eat when members of the Royal Family were in residence at Balmoral because they often went fishing. “There are foods the Queen and the Royal Family love, though, and it’s all produced from their estate, especially at Balmoral Castle. “
In addition to enjoying four meals – the monarch is fond of a daily drink, according to the queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, who said the Queen had a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, a glass of wine with her meal, followed by a dry martini and a flute of champagne before bed.
What is the most important meal at the Palace?
McGrady says the most popular meal of the week was still Friday’s fish and chips.
« Everyone loved fish and chips, ”explained McGrady. All the staff, 300 Buckingham Palace employees, all the chefs had fish and chips for lunch. But forget your tartar sauce and your ketchup, we loved it with salad cream. Cream of salad on these fries, on these chips. ”
Although the queen apparently had her fish and chips in panko breadcrumbs rather than traditional batter. As for his condiment of choice – Lea & Perrins, HP Sauce, and Heinz Ketchup all hold Royal Mandates.
But the other meal closest to the Queen’s heart isn’t one for humans.
McGrady said Health! magazine: “One of the things that really, really shocked me when I got a job as head of the queen was that I didn’t prepare banquets for kings, queens and presidents right away. . I was chopping beef, liver and chicken for Queen’s  corgis. I learned later that it was one of the most important meals of the day for the Queen.
And one of her first jobs as the Queen’s personal chef was peeling carrots for her horses at Balmoral.
Are there any foods the queen doesn’t like?
The queen does not like strong flavors, like garlic and onion, this McGrady. “The Queen doesn’t like garlic… we could never use it at Buckingham Palace. “
McGrady says the most important thing to remember is that – unlike when you cook in a hotel or restaurant – you only cook for one person, so it’s their taste that counts. ” It was [about] cook dishes the queen loved – for example, you could make a beef stroganoff and if she didn’t like the paprika in there it became a paprika-free dish because you’re cooking for that one person.
This also applied if Prince Philip dined with his wife. “The Queen eats to live while Prince Philip lives to eat,” McGrady says. “He loves curries with lots of garlic and spices, a real foodie. But we could never do [two plates] “For your plate, you are going to have a lot of garlic”, and “your plate, no garlic”, it was always to the queen, you have everything as she has.
And rare shellfish and meats are also avoided during royal tours or tours. – times when the family can’t afford to stay out of action with food poisoning. Former Royal Butler Grant Harold has confirmed that this rule makes sense when the Royal Family is on duty.
Is the queen already cooking for herself?
McGrady says that while Prince Philip was an ‘amazing chef’ and regularly enjoyed cooking on the grill and hosting family barbecues on the Balmoral Estate, and young royals like William, Kate, Meghan and Harry love all cook, the queen herself stays away. from the kitchen.
And no, the Queen has never been fond of a McDonalds drive-through either. ” The Queen has never ordered fast food. When you have 20 chefs in the kitchen, why would you do it? You can call into the kitchen and order whatever you want, ”McGrady says.
What about special occasions?
McGrady said Health! magazine that the greatest culinary event at the palace is Christmas. Although they opt for traditional options. “It was the same meal every year,” he says. “In fact, they’re boring when it comes to festivities. They didn’t make hams or anything, just traditional turkeys.
“We made three turkeys for the queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and more for the hundred employees, so everyone had Christmas lunch.
And they didn’t miss the dessert – the Christmas pudding would be “decorated with holly, sprinkled with brandy, and the steward of the palace would carry it, flamboyant, into the royal dining room.”
For Mother’s Day, McGrady says the Queen “didn’t really celebrate” but often went to Windsor Castle for the weekend and wanted special eggs for breakfast.
The royals don’t celebrate Halloween either, McGrady has confirmed.