Former Royals chef reveals: “Queen is not a foodie”

Queen Elizabeth II
“The queen is not a eater”: The former chef of the Royal reveals what is served in the palace

Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in late April.

© Dominic Lipinski / empics / Picture Alliance

Everything that happens behind the walls of Buckingham Palace stays behind the walls of Buckingham Palace – mainly. But now a former employee has chatted outside the box and said what’s on the Royals dishes.

Cheesecake is good bread, as Helge Schneider once knew. But does the British queen know that? It’s hard to imagine Queen Elizabeth spreading a sandwich for dinner. Imagine her at the end of a long table, carving a piece of pheasant meat with polished silver cutlery, while the violinists indifferently offer a small serenade. Darren McGrady knows how he really is at the royal table. The Briton has been cooking in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace for 15 years. He was the personal chef of the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry. He knows the gastronomic preferences of the blue-blooded tribes and does not back down. In a video on YouTube, she has now revealed what the queen is smearing on her bread.

According to this, the head of the British state has a weakness for the crab on the toast. But not just crabs. “Little brown Morecambe shrimp marinated and cooked in this secret herb butter,” says McGrady. She says the queen ate them on hot toast. “When you spread it, the butter melts and you get these beautiful shrimp,” he describes.

The queen likes the bold

And: Queen Elizabeth II likes locally. She often ate game meat hunted on her land and vegetables grown in her own gardens. Parsley, carrots and potatoes are included. McGrady quickly learned in the palace kitchens that all the dishes served to the queen were rich, full of cream, butter and fat. “Calories were not very important,” he recalls. Traditional French cuisine was cooked in the palace.

However, according to McGrady, the queen was not fond of food: “I quickly learned that she eats to live and does not live to eat.” Therefore, the menus would have changed little over time. The same few dishes were served over and over again. The chef remembers that it was difficult to make new recipes attractive to her.

Attack by the Queen’s corgis

Knowing what the Queen likes and dislikes, adjusting the dishes accordingly, this is the job of a private chef. Just something completely different from cooking in hotels or restaurants, as McGrady knows how to say. “Buckingham Palace was more for cooking dishes that the queen likes,” said the former Royal chef. “You could make a beef stroganoff and if she did not like the peppers, suddenly the beef stroganoff became a dish without peppers.” You only cook for one person and not for many different people.

By the way, McGrady has never met the Queen in person all these years. Only once did he get to that, as he says in the video. This was the beginning of his work in the castle. At that moment an old lady with many dogs came towards him. It took him a long time to realize that the old lady was the queen and that the many dogs were her corgi. Thoughts were running through his head, he says: What are the rules of conduct? How are they received? Is the bow necessary? But even before personal contact, the dogs rushed at him. Fearing an attack, he grabbed his legs and ran away. “I heard the queen laughing,” McGrady said. “Isn’t it unbelievable?”


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