[This article was originally published in 2020]
With a workforce of world-class chefs, entry to the greatest meals that cash can purchase, and eating rooms at palaces throughout the UK, you’ll have thought meal instances are at all times prestigious in the Windsor family.
The Queen’s former chef, Darren McGrady, has drawn again the curtain and revealed Her Majesty’s personal eating habits, having beforehand spoken about her most well-liked drinks.
The 58-year-old’s major position throughout his 15-year tenure at Buckingham Palace was as Queen Elizabeth II’s private chef, accompanying her on two royal excursions of Australia. He additionally cooked for 5 American Presidents – Ford, Reagan, Bush Snr, Clinton, and Bush Jnr – throughout their state visits.
McGrady additionally labored for different members of the royal household – together with Princess Diana, and her sons William and Harry at Kensington Palace. He was cooking for Diana on the night time of her demise – 31 August 1997. McGrady already had her dinner prepared and ready for her return.
In his e-book “Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen”, McGrady has revealed the Queen’s eating preferences, her favorite meals and the issues she just isn’t a fan of on the dinner desk.
How many meals does the Queen eat in a day?
McGrady says the Queen has 4 meals a day – however solely eats small parts at every. In a sequence of YouTube Q&A movies, he says that in his time as her private chef between 1982 and 1993, the Queen would eat breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
For breakfast she retains issues easy. Royal biographer, Katie Nicholl, has beforehand stated: “HRH typically starts with a simple cup of tea and biscuits, followed by a bowl of cereal.” (The Guardian beforehand reported she likes to hold it in Tupperware to protect its freshness.)
This is earlier than transferring on to a lunch of grilled fish with wilted spinach or courgettes, according to McGrady. She can also be partial to a easy grilled rooster with salad – a low carbohydrate choice.
Then, in the late afternoon, McGrady says, the Queen may have a day tea. (The Queen at all times has scones with jam and clotted cream – and she or he places jam on first).
He defined: “She’d always have afternoon tea wherever she was in the world. We’d flown out to Australia and were on the Royal Yacht. It was five o’clock in the morning but for the Queen it was five in the afternoon so my first job was making scones.”
The queen had 20 chefs at the royal kitchen at the time McGrady was working there, he says. It was beforehand reportedthat the head chef would offer the Queen with a menu twice a week after which she might select meals to her liking. McGrady confirmed the menu system was in place.
McGrady says whereas the Queen by no means straight stated she didn’t get pleasure from a meal, she would depart a message in a pocket book for the workers. “She had a little book on her desk and she would just put a note in there saying ‘I don’t want this again’ or something like that,” he explains.
What are the Queen’s favorite meals?
The Queen apparently has a specific love for Morecambe Bay potted shrimp on toast. In a Q&A video, McGrady stated: “They’re cooked and marinated in this secret spicy butter. And then the Queen would have them with warm toast, and when you spread them on the warm toast, the butter melts.”
The Queen would possibly solely get pleasure from small parts of savoury meals, however McGrady says she is a glutton for candy. Charbonnel et Walker, Bendicks, and Prestat all maintain royal warrants.
“She is absolutely a chocoholic,” McGrady advised Hello! journal in 2016. “Anything we put on the menu that had chocolate on, she would choose, especially chocolate perfection pie [a layered chocolate pie with white and dark chocolate and chocolate shavings].”
One of the Queen’s favorite “guilty pleasures” throughout McGrady’s time as chef was a croque monsieur sandwich, with melted Gruyère, ham and whipped eggs, he stated.
One of Prince Philip’s favorite dishes was reportedly salmon coulibiac, McGrady says there was at all times a lot of salmon to eat when the royals have been in residence at Balmoral as a result of they went fishing regularly. “There are foods that the Queen and the royal family love, though, and it’s all the produce at their estate, especially at Balmoral castle.”
As nicely as having fun with 4 meals – the monarch is partial to a tipple, according to the Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, who stated the Queen’s most well-liked drinks are a gin and Dubonnet or a flute of champagne.
What is the most essential meal at the Palace?
McGrady says that the hottest meal of the week was at all times Friday fish and chips.
“Everybody loved fish and chips,” explained McGrady. “All the staff, 300 staff at Buckingham Palace, all of the chefs would have fish and chips for lunch. But, forget your tartar sauce and your ketchup, we loved it with salad cream. Salad cream on those French fries, on those chips.”
Although the Queen reportedly had her fish and chips in a panko breadcrumb rather than traditional batter. As for her condiment of choice – Lea & Perrins, HP Sauce, and Heinz ketchup all hold royal warrants.
But the other meal closest to the Queen’s heart is not one for the humans.
McGrady told Hello! magazine: “One of the things that really, really shocked me when I got a job as the Queen’s chef was that I wasn’t straight away preparing banquets for kings, queens and presidents. I was actually chopping beef, liver and chicken for the Queen’s  corgis. I later learned that was one of the most important meals of the day when it came to the Queen.”
And considered one of his first duties as the Queen’s private chef was peeling carrots for her horses at Balmoral.
Are there any foods the Queen doesn’t like?
The Queen does not enjoy strong flavours, such as garlic and onion, says McGrady. “The Queen would not like garlic… we might by no means use it at Buckingham Palace.”
McGrady says the most essential factor to bear in mind was that – in contrast to if you find yourself cooking in a resort or restaurant – you might be solely cooking for one particular person so their style is what issues. “It was [about] cooking dishes that the queen liked – for example, you could do a beef stroganoff and if she didn’t like paprika in there, it became a dish without paprika because you’re cooking for that one person.”
This additionally utilized if Prince Philip was eating together with his spouse. “The Queen eats to live whereas Prince Philip lives to eat,” says McGrady. “He loves curries with lots of garlic and spices, a real foodie. But we could never do [two plates] ‘for your plate you’re going to have lots of garlic’, and ‘your plate, no garlic’, it was always down to the Queen, you have everything how she has it.”
And shellfish and uncommon meat are additionally averted throughout royal visits or excursions – instances when the household can’t afford to be out of motion with meals poisoning. Former royal butler Grant Harold confirmed this rule is smart when royals are on responsibility.
Does the Queen ever prepare dinner for herself?
McGrady says that whereas Prince Philip was an “amazing chef” and commonly loved cooking on the grill and having household BBQs on the Balmoral property, and the youthful royals like William, Kate, Meghan and Harry, all get pleasure from cooking, the Queen herself stays out of the kitchen.
And no, the Queen was by no means partial to a McDonalds drive-thru both. “The Queen never ordered fast food. When you’ve got 20 chefs in the kitchen, why would you? You can call down to the kitchen and order whatever you want,” says McGrady.
What about particular events?
McGrady advised Hello! journal that the greatest meals occasion at the palace is Christmas. Although they go for conventional choices. “It was the same meal every year,” he stated. “They’re really boring when it comes to festivities. They did not do hams or something, simply conventional turkeys.
“We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch.”
And they didn’t scrimp on dessert – the Christmas pudding would be “decorated in holly, doused in brandy, and the palace steward would carry it, flaming, into the royal dining room”.
For Mother’s Day, McGrady says the Queen “didn’t really celebrate” however she would typically go to Windsor fort for the weekend and wish particular eggs for breakfast.
The royals don’t have a good time Halloween both, McGrady confirmed.