Posted on Food & Wine. (Read original article here.)
Darren McGrady, Princess Diana’s personal chef for four years (and personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II before that) revealed what the famous royal’s eating habits were like in a recent interview with USA Today,
McGrady first met Diana while working for the royal family at the Queen’s Balmoral vacation home in Scotland as their vegetable chef—in his words, “right at the very bottom.” McGrady recalls that the princess would often come down to the kitchen requesting orange juice or yogurt for herself or her sons. After she divorced Prince Charles, McGrady got a call asking him to be her personal chef at Kensington Palace.
He says that she preferred healthy foods like salads, even insisting on McGrady creating a fat-free version of the chef’s tomato mousse recipe. She also requested he start making her fresh juices; his version consisted of carrots, celery, parsley, spinach.
When her children visited her, McGrady says “they could have anything they liked,” including fried chicken and potato skins. Diana preferred fish and stuffed bell peppers, and she never ate red meat. For dessert, she liked bread-and-butter pudding. When throwing a party, she served lamb as an indulgence. For instance, when Clint Eastwood visited Kensington Palace, she requested that McGrady prepare a rack of lamb for the actor’s visit.
Even after hearing the news that Diana had passed away, McGrady still went to work at Kensington Palace with all the food he had prepared for her, unable to admit that she wouldn’t be coming home to enjoy it.
In a much happier memory, McGrady recalls a sweet (non-food related) story about Diana requesting her butler round up 50 blankets during an especially cold winter, which she distributed around King’s Cross station. Inspired by her charitable work (Diana was the patron of 109 charities), McGrady now works with homeless and domestic violence shelters and donated all the proceeds from his first cookbook, Eating Royally, to charity. His new book, The Royal Chef at Home, will be released on September 1st and available on Amazon on November 1st.