Queen"s chef reveals her favourite meals: From Special K to jam sandwiches

A Monarch of simple tastes: From Special K to jam sandwiches, royal chef reveals the Queen's dining habitsHer Majesty sticks to a four-meal-a-day planDarren McGrady cooked 'clean and simple' dishes for 15 years at Buckingham Palace



18:16 GMT, 31 May 2012

A woman of simple tastes: Queen Elizabeth II pictured in 1977

A woman of simple tastes: Queen Elizabeth II pictured in 1977

Special K, jam sandwiches and chocolate cake are some of the Queen's favourite foods, according to her former personal chef.

Darren McGrady, who worked at the Buckingham Palace kitchens for fifteen years, has revealed that away from the spotlight the 86-year-old British Monarch is a woman of simple tastes.

While she feasts on elaborate dishes at state banquets, when at home she enjoys uncomplicated cuisine.

McGrady said that she traditionally starts the day with a light breakfast followed by lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, topped off with a generous gin and Dubonnet before bedtime.

The 49-year-old chef, who also cooked for Princess Diana and Princes’ William and Harry, said that Cornflakes or
Special K were popular requests at the breakfast table, with a helping of dried fruit or macadamia

While Darjeeling tea was the drink of choice.

A typical lunch, served at 1pm, would be fish, such as a grilled Dover sole, placed on a bed of wilted spinach.

'She loved grilled Dover sole. Really simple, light and no sauce. Clean and simple that was how she liked it,' he told MailOnline.

Then there would be afternoon tea of cakes, scones and sandwiches using de-crusted bread.

Honey sponge, ginger cake and the chocolate
biscuit recipe that Prince William chose to be served at his wedding
reception were the top sweet treats and McGrady would also rustle up his special Chocolate Perfection Pie.

Special K, one of the Queen's favourite foods

Basic but given the Royal seal of approval, the Queen is partial to a jam sandwich

Simple, but given the Royal seal of approval: Jam sandwiches and Special K are two of the Queen's top treats

Chefs prepare a state banquet at Windsor, but Her Majesty doesn't always go for the finest foods

Chefs prepare a state banquet at Windsor, but Her Majesty doesn't always go for the finest foods

'The Queen loves chocolate, and the
Chocolate Perfection Pie was one of her favourites. It has three layers
and I think the word perfection sums up her 60-year reign.'

But when she ate alone the Queen would prefer fruit over pudding. 'Chocolate is one of her favourites but when she dined alone she would just have a dish of fruit, an apple or a peach.'


BREAKFAST: Cereal, dried fruit, macadamia nuts

LUNCH: Grilled Dover sole, wilted spinach, courgette

AFTERNOON TEA: Selection of cakes, scones and sandwiches

DINNER: Venison from Balmoral, white peaches from Windsor Castle, gin and Dubonnet

At least two varieties of sandwich
were offered, such as cucumber or egg mayonnaise, with the crusts cut off.

‘Even if she’s on her own, there’s sandwiches with the crusts off, white and brown; plain scones one day, fruit the next; a whole ginger or chocolate cake or a honey and cream sponge and small cakes like chocolate clairs.

'She’ll only have one or two sandwiches and maybe a sliver of cake.’

Mr McGrady also spent his day making jam
pennies – miniature raspberry jam sandwiches cut into circles the size of an
old English penny – during his time in the Royal household.

In the evening she would normally have a gin and Dubonnet; one part gin and two parts Dubonnet.

The Queen's love of the drink is
well-documented, and when the BBC1 documentary The Royal Family At Work
showed a butler mixing one for her, demand for the product went through
the roof.

Former Palace chef Darren McGrady

Former Palace chef Darren McGrady

Then for dinner there would be game or fish such as pheasant from Sandringham or venison or salmon from Balmoral.

For pudding, fresh fruit, particularly the white peaches grown in greenhouses at Windsor Castle.

'Game from any of the royal household were popular and peaches were her favourite.' Mr McGrady added.

He started at Buckingham Palace in 1982, when he was 20, the most junior of 20 cooks in the kitchens, although he had already risen to chef de partie saucier (head sauce chef) at the Savoy.

His royal CV has taken him to America, where he is now private chef to Mrs Dee Wyly, widow of a billionaire philanthropist in Dallas, Texas. But even now, he doubts the Queen has cooked a meal in her life.

'At the end of the meal, the Queen will rinse the plates, that’s her contribution.

'When I worked for Princess Diana, she’d occasionally cook a little something when she had friends over, maybe pasta with a sauce.
But that’s something the Queen would never do.’

To celebrate the launch of New Tastier Flora and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Darren McGrady has created the Flora Celebration Sandwich. Visit www.facebook.com/florahearts for more details