What did the Queen's royal menu look like? The former royal chef is spilling the beans

Darren McGrady spent years cooking for the royal family. He also shed light on their favorite meals

Published October 7, 2022 7:30PM (EDT)

Queen Elizabeth II speaks during an audience at Windsor Castle on February 16, 2022 in Windsor, England (Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II speaks during an audience at Windsor Castle on February 16, 2022 in Windsor, England (Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Former royal chef Darren McGrady spent his years cooking for members of the royal family. During that time, he also shed light on their go-to dishes through interviews, tutorials and social media posts — including the particular favorites of the late Queen Elizabeth II

So, if you'd like to dine like royalty, check out this list where we've gathered some of McGrady's best recipes and feel free to cook along, starting with brunch

A fruity brunch snack 

Through sourcing an abundance of berries by the Balmoral Castle, McGrady discovered the Scandinavian recipe called the "Veiled Farmer's Daughter." When the Queen chooses her day-to-day menu, she usually sticks with the same dishes, so when presented with McGrady's new recipe without a proper ingredients list, a cheeky note was returned to the kitchen to question: 

"What or who is the Veiled Farmer's Daughter?"

After finally easing the Queen into officially approving the dish — which is a layered treat of sweet berries, cream and a toasted cinnamon-sugar crust — it became a regular addition to her menu. She ordered it as much as three to four times a week in the summer! 

Click here for McGrady's tutorial. 

Afternoon tea and scones

As the noon hours approached, the Queen was famously known to love her afternoon tea. And don't forget the buttery scones as well. This duo of treats actually dates back to the 19th-century traditions of the Duchess of Bedford who made a habit of inviting her friends for tea time. 

However for the Queen, whether she was inviting friends or on her plane to another country, the treat was literally a go-to. Royal chef McGrady was there to bake these iconic scones, no matter the time zone. 

One day, she might order plain scones, but then the next, fruit scones to mix it up. Along with a slab of butter, jam or cream, the important factor here was the afternoon tea. Tea was the must-have for which the scone was merely a complement. 

Click here for McGrady's tutorial. 

The Platinum Jubilee

Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth held numerous celebrations to mark her time on the throne, including her Platinum Jubilee in 2021. One of the common treats at these events — which have been attended by at least five U.S. presidents and many, many corgis — was a citrusy lemon meringue parfait. 

Topped with sweet berries and ice cream, the meringue creates a perfectly balanced summer refreshment equally at home at an annual pool party as it is at Buckingham Palace. If there are any leftovers, McGrady suggests leaving the meringue in the freezer for up to three months. However, the meringue never really lasted in the Queen's kitchen for all that long. 

Click here for McGrady's tutorial.

Dinner for all

On Friday nights, the royal staff were usually served the finest fish and chips, along with a hand-made sour cream dip. The Queen's corgis also reportedly received dinners fit for a king (or queen). In their case, that means a puppy-approved mix of meat, cabbage and rice. 

"When I worked at the palace, we actually had a royal menu for the dogs," McGrady told Hello! Magazine. "It would be chosen and sent to us in the kitchen every month by Mrs. Fennick, who took care of all the dogs at Sandringham. It would list each day what the dogs were to have. One day it would be beef, the next day chicken, the next day lamb, the next day rabbit and it alternated through those days. The beef would come in, we would cook it, dice it into really fine pieces and then we did same with the chicken. We'd poach them, and again chop them really, really small to make sure there were no bones so the dogs wouldn't choke."

As for the Queen herself, she enjoyed Morecambe Bay potted shrimp for dinner. Morecambe Bay Shrimp are tiny brown shrimp that are caught in the shallow waters of the Lancashire coast. In this dish, they are boiled in butter and a secret blend of spices, then packed into tiny pots and served with warm toast. Since this was the Queen's all-time favorite, McGrady has yet to disclose the secret recipe. 

The end of the day

As the Queen prepared for sweet dreams, she liked a sweet treat — though one with an admittedly sour name. She would order a lemon posset. The word "posset" refers both to a citrusy confection, as well as a newborn's spit-up. Dessert is served? 

While possets can contain a variety of ingredients — ranging from ginger to star anise — the Queen actually liked hers quite simply made with just lemon, sugar, cream and Amaretti cookies. This rich and creamy dish was then topped with blueberries and lemon zest. On special occasions, the lemon posset may also be flavored with orange juice or alcohol as well. 

Click here for McGrady's tutorial. 

By Rebecca Yoo

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