[This article was originally published in 2020]
With a workforce of world-class cooks, entry to the very best meals that cash can purchase, and eating rooms at palaces throughout the UK, you’ll have thought meal instances are at all times prestigious within the Windsor family.
The Queen’s former chef, Darren McGrady, has drawn again the curtain and revealed Her Majesty’s non-public eating habits, having beforehand spoken about her most well-liked drinks.
The 58-year-old’s main 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 ebook “Consuming Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen”, McGrady has revealed the Queen’s eating preferences, her favorite meals and the issues she is just not a fan of on the dinner desk.
What number of 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 collection 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 usually begins with a easy cup of tea and biscuits, adopted by a bowl of cereal.” (The Guardian beforehand reported she likes to maintain it in Tupperware to protect its freshness.)
That is earlier than transferring on to a lunch of grilled fish with wilted spinach or courgettes, in keeping with McGrady. She can also be keen on a easy grilled rooster with salad – a low carbohydrate possibility.
Then, within the late afternoon, McGrady says, the Queen can have a day tea. (The Queen at all times has scones with jam and clotted cream – and he or she places jam on first).
He defined: “She’d at all times have afternoon tea wherever she was on this planet. We’d flown out to Australia and have been on the Royal Yacht. It was 5 o’clock within the morning however for the Queen it was 5 within the afternoon so my first job was making scones.”
The queen had 20 cooks on the royal kitchen on the time McGrady was working there, he says. It was beforehand reportedthat the top chef would offer the Queen with a menu twice every week after which she may 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 go away a message in a pocket book for the workers. “She had a bit of ebook on her desk and he or she would simply put a notice in there saying ‘I do not need this once more’ or one thing like that,” he explains.
What are the Queen’s favorite meals?
The Queen apparently has a selected love for Morecambe Bay potted shrimp on toast. In a Q&A video, McGrady stated: “They’re cooked and marinated on this secret spicy butter. After which the Queen would have them with heat toast, and whenever you unfold them on the nice and cozy toast, the butter melts.”
The Queen may 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 totally a chocoholic,” McGrady advised Hi there! journal in 2016. “Something we placed on the menu that had chocolate on, she would select, particularly chocolate perfection pie [a layered chocolate pie with white and dark chocolate and chocolate shavings].”
One of many Queen’s favorite “responsible pleasures” throughout McGrady’s time as chef was a croque monsieur sandwich, with melted Gruyère, ham and whipped eggs, he stated.
One in every of Prince Philip’s favorite dishes was reportedly salmon coulibiac, McGrady says there was at all times a number of salmon to eat when the royals have been in residence at Balmoral as a result of they went fishing ceaselessly. “There are meals that the Queen and the royal household love, although, and it is all of the produce at their property, particularly at Balmoral citadel.”
In addition to having fun with 4 meals – the monarch is keen on a tipple, in keeping with 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’s an important meal on the Palace?
McGrady says that the most well-liked meal of the week was at all times Friday fish and chips.
“Everyone beloved fish and chips,” defined McGrady. “All of the workers, 300 workers at Buckingham Palace, the entire cooks would have fish and chips for lunch. However, neglect your tartar sauce and your ketchup, we beloved it with salad cream. Salad cream on these French fries, on these chips.”
Though the Queen reportedly had her fish and chips in a panko breadcrumb moderately than conventional batter. As for her condiment of alternative – Lea & Perrins, HP Sauce, and Heinz ketchup all maintain royal warrants.
However the different meal closest to the Queen’s coronary heart is just not one for the people.
McGrady advised Hi there! journal: “One of many issues that basically, actually shocked me once I received a job because the Queen’s chef was that I wasn’t immediately making ready banquets for kings, queens and presidents. I used to be really chopping beef, liver and rooster for the Queen’s  corgis. I later realized that was one of the necessary meals of the day when it got here to the Queen.”
And considered one of his first duties because the Queen’s private chef was peeling carrots for her horses at Balmoral.
Are there any meals the Queen doesn’t like?
The Queen doesn’t get pleasure from robust flavours, akin to garlic and onion, says McGrady. “The Queen does not like garlic… we may by no means use it at Buckingham Palace.”
McGrady says an important factor to recollect was that – in contrast to when you’re cooking in a lodge or restaurant – you might be solely cooking for one individual so their style is what issues. “It was [about] cooking dishes that the queen appreciated – for instance, you may do a beef stroganoff and if she did not like paprika in there, it turned a dish with out paprika since you’re cooking for that one individual.”
This additionally utilized if Prince Philip was eating together with his spouse. “The Queen eats to stay whereas Prince Philip lives to eat,” says McGrady. “He loves curries with plenty of garlic and spices, an actual foodie. However we may by no means do [two plates] ‘on your plate you’re going to have plenty of garlic’, and ‘your plate, no garlic’, it was at all times all the way down to the Queen, you have got every part how she has it.”
And shellfish and uncommon meat are additionally averted throughout royal visits or excursions – instances when the household can not afford to be out of motion with meals poisoning. Former royal butler Grant Harold confirmed this rule is wise when royals are on obligation.
Does the Queen ever prepare dinner for herself?
McGrady says that whereas Prince Philip was an “superb chef” and often 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 keen on a McDonalds drive-thru both. “The Queen by no means ordered quick meals. Whenever you’ve received 20 cooks within the kitchen, why would you? You possibly can name all the way down to the kitchen and order no matter you need,” says McGrady.
What about particular events?
McGrady advised Hi there! journal that the largest meals occasion on the palace is Christmas. Though they go for conventional choices. “It was the identical meal yearly,” he stated. “They’re really boring with regards to festivities. They did not do hams or something, simply conventional turkeys.
“We did three turkeys for the Queen and her household within the royal eating room, one for the youngsters’s nursery after which extra for the 100 or so workers, so everybody had a Christmas lunch.”
They usually didn’t scrimp on dessert – the Christmas pudding could be “embellished in holly, doused in brandy, and the palace steward would carry it, flaming, into the royal eating room”.
For Mom’s Day, McGrady says the Queen “didn’t actually rejoice” however she would usually go to Windsor citadel for the weekend and wish particular eggs for breakfast.
The royals don’t rejoice Halloween both, McGrady confirmed.