Q & A With Former Royal Family Chef Darren McGrady, Part 2: Cook and Tell
In the first part of our interview with Darren McGrady, former private chef for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and later Princess Diana, the chef was sharing why he turned down a job as Prince Charles' chef (Camilla), as well as why he's so active in charitable projects today (Diana). And why he's not particularly keen on Prince Charles becoming the next king ("Charles should really step aside, I think."). But that's not to say McGrady is a Royal Family gossip monger. Far from it. He's all too happy to maximize the current William and Kate SEO frenzy simply for his cookbook sales -- 100% of which go to charity. A reminder of holiday generosity at its finest.
Daily Mail The Royal Family's 20th Century Party Portrait With McGrady
Turn the page for more on the Royal Family's kitchen (it's more than a mile from the dining room), personal dining habits (stale high tea cake is just fine - expected, actually - for the Queen) and the current state of royal horse feed. And check back later this week for the Royal Family's Victorian era chocolate cake recipe. We promise to give you the freshly baked version.
Squid Ink: We left off with this thought from McGrady...
theroyalchef.com McGrady Today, On The Dallas Party Circuit
Darren McGrady: I think with William and Kate, the [overall feeling in the Royal household] is going to be a lot more casual because William got that casual side from Diana. William still knows all of the Royal Family traditions, and yes, he does have to participate in the formal side of things like the Royal Ascot. But I do think William and Kate will be more normal, or as normal as can be when you're part of the Royal Family. And actually right now, William is much more popular than Charles. Charles should really step aside, I think.
SI: Why is that?
DM: If the Queen lives to be 101 years old like her mother, and Charles doesn't step aside, we won't have William on the throne until he's 65 years old. But the [British] people want them now. That's important.
SI: To charitable giving, to morale, as you mentioned earlier. Speaking of the Queen, you actually started out cooking for her, not Diana?
DM: Yes, my first job was peeling carrots in the kitchen for the Queen's horses, then I eventually became Senior Chef.
SI: You say in the book that she was very formal, in terms of eating habits. "If the boys were visiting granny and wanted ice cream, the Queen would call her page, who in turn would call the head chef. The head chef would call the pastry kitchen and the pastry chef would call the silver pantry for dishes to present it on." And so on. The carrots had to be a certain size and cut for her horses, too?
DM: Yes, and peeled. Her horses never ate anything but peeled carrots. I learned that quickly.
SI: There are some funny moments in the book, like at one of the holiday homes when the Queen's twelve Welsh corgis would suddenly stampede into the kitchen at one so you knew she was about to sit down for lunch. You had to cook and serve with the dogs running around under your feet, couldn't swat them away because the Queen would hear them yelp.
DM: [Laughs] Yes.
SI: What sorts of things did the Queen like to eat? In the book, she sounds very particular for some things like French food, but then frugal -- like she insists on being served the same cake at tea time several days in a row, so as not to waste any.