Queen Elizabeth II is not a foodie at heart. She eats to live, rather than live to eat. This was revealed by former royal chef Darren McGrady, who has worked for the British monarch at Buckingham Palace for 11 years. The chef, who is now based in Texas, Stateside, said the nonagenarian royal preferred traditional British and French cuisine, but loved any form of chocolate.
Darren, who is the author of “Eating Royally,” has collaborated with The Savoy in London to create a special menu, “A Royal Afternoon Tea”, to celebrate the queen’s official birthday in June. The Nottingham native said in an exclusive interview with Hello that guests will be treated to Elizabeth’s favorite dishes including jam pennies and chocolate biscuit cake on the occasion. The afternoon tea will start at the hotel from June 9, and Darren will make an appearance at his former workplace on June 11, which is also celebrated as the Trooping the Color.
Darren, who lives with his wife and three kids in Texas, said that though the queen has visited 126 countries, she is not adventurous when it comes to food. He added that Prince Philip was a foodie who always wanted to try new dishes and got excited about new ingredients. Darren recounted how when they had a new recipe in the menu, it was sent to Elizabeth for approval and most of the time she would strike off the ones she did not want and write something different.
The chef said that at the palace, they prepared menus three days in advance so that all the ingredients would be kept ready. Darren said that the queen is like any other mom and if she would be having dinner with Prince Andrew, she wanted his favourite crème brulee with Sandringham oranges to be served on the table. Besides, if her grandson Prince William was coming for tea it would be a chocolate biscuit cake, since he loved it.
The queen mostly stuck to the same dishes regularly. Darren said for the main course, the queen liked Gaelic steak, fillet steak with a mushroom whisky sauce, especially if it was with venison. Elizabeth loved ingredients from her estates, so they got salmon from River Dee in Balmoral when they prepared Gleneagles pâté, which is smoked salmon, trout and mackerel.
The recipe was one of her favorites, Darren added. In addition, they cooked a lot of traditional French food like halibut on a bed of spinach with a Morney sauce. “She is absolutely a chocoholic. Anything we put on the menu that had chocolate on, she would choose, especially chocolate perfection pie,” said Darren, talking about the queen’s love for chocolate.