Former Royal Chef Reveals Queen Elizabeth’s Fave Meal And The One Thing She Hates

Former Royal Chef Reveals Queen Elizabeth’s Fave Meal And The One Thing She Hates

January 20, 2020 100 By William Morgan


– I’m Darren McGrady, the Royal Chef. Former chef to the Queen, Princess Diana, Prince William, and Prince Harry. And I’m gonna be making
one of her favorite dishes. Gaelic steaks. I remember sleeping on the mall outside Buckingham Palace to
watch the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. I was working at the Savoy
Hotel in London at the time. And I thought, how cool would
it be to be a royal chef. And to work in those royal kitchens. When I got home, I applied for a job. Just a few weeks later, there I was in the kitchens having an interview. It was incredible. Buckingham Palace was
everything I expected. The interview, I sat with the
food and beverage director. He asked me all about cooking. I got the job, just like that. Within two weeks, I was working in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace. I started at Buckingham Palace and was then moved to Balmoral Castle. It was at Balmoral Castle
where I first met the Queen. It was my afternoon off. And I remember going for a walk
along the side of the river. And I looked down the road, and I saw this lady walking towards me. And she got a load of dogs with her. And I looked and I looked a bit closer, and thought, “No, that
can’t be the Queen.” The lady was coming closer and closer. And she got a head scarf
on and a barber coat. And I looked again, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, it’s the Queen. “I’m gonna see the Queen.” Remember what you’ve gotta say, it’s “Good morning, your majesty. “Good afternoon, your majesty.” Bow. You don’t speak to her
unless she speaks to you. All of this was going through my mind. And I was thinking, “I’m
finally gonna meet the Queen.” As she got closer, the dogs saw me. 12 corgis. And they all started barking,
and then running towards me. And I just stopped, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m gonna get
attacked by the corgis.” I’m not gonna get to
see the Queen after all. I turned and I went running the other way. And the Queen started laughing. Can you believe? The Queen was laughing at me
running away from the corgis. So I never really did
get to meet the Queen. These are beef tenderloin steaks, and I’m just seasoning with
a little salt and pepper. I’m using beef tenderloin
steaks, but at Balmoral Castle, the Queen would actually have venison. Now we’re gonna cook the
steaks, the mushrooms, and the onions and make the sauce. To serve with the Gaelic steaks, I’m doing potatoes and parsnips mashed together. And then the garnish is
some little baby carrots. Queen Elizabeth loved to
eat food from the estate. From the gardens. And at Balmoral Castle,
we’d grow the parsnips and the potatoes and the carrots. So when all this came together, especially if you were
doing this with venison from the estate, this
was a fantastic meal. And you can see why it was
one of the Queen’s favorites. One of the things I soon learned working for the Queen was that all of the dishes were rich in cream and butter and fat. Calories really didn’t matter. We could use as much cream and butter in the dishes as we wanted to. They just made them taste amazing. It really was traditional French cuisine. The Queen chose the menus
of Buckingham Palace. Using a menu book, we would suggest three days menus for her to choose from. And then she would pick
the ones that she wanted. She put a line through the
dishes that she didn’t want. And if she got guests coming,
she’d write two or four. The Queen wasn’t a real foodie. And I soon learned that she eats to live. She doesn’t live to eat. And so the menus that we did
were pretty much the same again and again all the time. And if we tried to come
up with a new recipe, then we had to actually
send up the recipe itself. The whole recipe. So the Queen could look at the menu. Look and see what was
the ingredients were. And it was difficult trying to put new dishes on all the time. She liked her favorites. When she’s on her own, then
the Queen avoids most starches. When she’s entertaining, then
she will eat the starches. I did an interview where I was asked, “What was the Queen’s favorite drinks?” She likes a glass of champagne. She likes (speaking in foreign language), that’s one of her favorite
German wines with a banquet. She likes a (speaking
in foreign language). She likes port. Someone said, “Oh right, so
she has four drinks a day.” The Queen is such a disciplinarian, it amazed me that we would send a great big chocolate cake up
for her to have a meal. At afternoon tea. And she would just take the tiniest slice and it would go back to the kitchen. If she wanted more, she
would wait til next day. And when that cake came up again. Me, I would have eaten it all. One of the things that really amazed me was that the Queen actually
likes her meat well-done. And chefs we cook
medium-rare all the time. So it was really, really important that we got a really good sear on the steaks. And cooked her steaks well-done. If ever she was doing
a standing rib roast, a prime rib, she always
had the first slice. Because that meant that meat
was well-done on the outside. This is the best part of the sauce, the (speaking in foreign language), all those little crispy
pieces in the bottom. And putting the butter and oil in there before we add the onions, really gives the flavor. And some mushrooms. (scraping) Turn up the flame and let those soak in. One fun thing about this
dish, the Gaelic steaks, is we’d also make if for Prince Phillip. But the Queen doesn’t
like garlic, but he does. So we’d actually put a little
bit of garlic in there. For Prince Phillip. It was about a week later
when I saw the Queen again. This time she looked like a real Queen. No head scarf, no corgis running after me. The Queen hosts a Ghillies Ball, a gamekeeper’s ball
every year at Balmoral. And all the staff are invited. I was there in my suit, and
all the royal family came down. And this time, the Queen was dressed in a beautiful long gown. She got a tiara on. That’s the Queen that I knew. The best part of the
Gaelic steaks, the whiskey. (sizzling) You never got to sit down
with the Queen at all. We were royal servants of the Queen. We never sat, even sat at the
same table as Her Majesty. Here we go again. Lashings of cream in the sauce. Well, that’s just gonna
simmer and reduce now. Once it’s reduced and we’ve
got a nice consistency, then the steaks go back in. The Queen was never one for
surprises in the kitchen. She liked the same foods, the same dishes over and over again. Just every now again, she
would come back from somewhere. Somewhere she’d visited and. And say, “I had this dish, and I’ve got the recipe, can you make this, please?” And we’d have to try something different. But for the most part, it was those tried and tested recipes. Some of the dishes dated
back to Queen Victoria’s era. The chocolate cake, for example, that same chocolate cake was served to every member of the royal family for
over a hundred years. When it came to the Gaelic steaks, beef or venison for the Queen
depending on where she was. Seasonal vegetables, too, and if we were at Balmoral, we
could do the parsnip mash. From the gardens. And some baby carrots to go with it. Ready to serve. If the Queen was on her
own, we could plate. But for a banquet, it would go
on a big silver tray with ten portions and the potatoes and the vegetables would all be served separate. The Queen’s not a big eater. Just small portions. So we couldn’t fill the plate. And one of the steaks is more than enough. Gaelic steaks. And that is one of the
Queen’s favorite dishes. (instrumental music)