by Bruna Nessif | Wed., May. 1, 2013 3:44 PM
Not everyone has the luxury of sitting beside the royal family for a meal, and although most of their eating habits include cosuming plates from a lavish menu, sometimes it can be just as simple as a bowl of cereal.
Queen Elizabeth II has recently put out an ad looking for a new sous chef for the royal kitchen, and Darren McGrady, who worked for the royal family for 15 years (for Her Majesty until 1993, and for Princess Diana before her death in 1997) revealed some royal eating habits and offered advice for potential applicants during an interview with The Telegraph.
"I'm amazed they're advertising at all," he said. "They normally promote from within, because you have to learn the family recipes. Although you're cooking for 300 staff and kings and presidents, you're also cooking for a family; for two pensioners, with particular likes and dislikes. You'd never put garlic in the queen's menu, for example, or strong onions or paprika, because she hates them."
But one thing the queen does thoroughly enjoy, according to McGrady, is a nice hearty bowl of cornflakes or Special K, with fruit from her greenhouses or macadamia nuts she keeps in a Tupperware box. Who would've known?!
Additionally, no matter where the queen is in the world, she always takes afternoon tea every day, which consists of scones ("sometimes crumbled up and fed straight to the corgis"), sandwiches and two sweet options.
As for the other royals, McGrady notes that Prince Charles is not much one to share, and that his organic dishes—such as poached plums from his Highgrove estate—are kept separate from the rest of the royal cuisine.
He also notes that Prince Andrew is a huge fan of mangoes, saying, "Every Christmas, he'd get sent a gift of mangoes, and he'd come into the kitchen bellowing: 'Where are my mangoes?'" and adding that Prince William and Prince Harry kept their appetite very simple: "Two boys who loved burgers and pizza."
"I cooked for five American presidents; I flew on Concorde; I rode on the royal yacht Britannia," McGrady recalls. "I often wonder how much William has changed. I watched him grow up; I puréed fruit for him as a baby—and now he and Kate are going to have one of their own. I'd love to be in that kitchen working with the nanny and getting food ready for the baby."
As for advice for the new royal chef, McGrady says, "Learn quickly who likes what and how they like it. Know how to address the family. Try not to stand out—no piercings or pink hair; you never know who you'll be standing next to in the royal photograph. And watch a lot of Downton Abbey. Working in the kitchens at the Palace is exactly like that."
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