The Queen follows strict protocol when it comes to dining at her royal residences, from avoiding seafood and garlic to personally approving her royal chefs’ pre-planned menus. Yet even as a confirmed “total chocoholic”, the Queen has been known to eat very little, sometimes avoiding food completely when served at royal banquets.
READ: 22 surprising things you didn’t know about the Queen’s royal banquets
HELLO! spoke to former royal chef Graham Tinsley MBE, who catered for many a royal banquet during his time as manager of the Welsh Culinary Team. Lending his expertise, the chef explained exactly why the monarch isn’t seen to eat much at prestigious royal events…
WATCH: Buckingham Palace shares incredible timelapse video of royal banquet
Some royal banquets take six months to prepare, so many rules are put in place to ensure the event runs smoothly. It is customary for the guest of honour to sit to the right of the Queen, and it follows that she will speak to that person during the first course of the dinner. She will then switch her attention to the person on her left for the following course.
This is why Her Majesty isn’t partial to indulging during her three-course banquet – she’s usually tasked with talking and entertaining!
SEE: 3 unusual things Prince Charles can’t go without at royal banquets – royal chef exclusive
“A lot of time, the Queen didn’t even eat,” explained Graham. “She tends to push her food around the plate because she’s too busy talking to the people on the left, and on the right – after all, she’s entertaining for the occasion.”
The Queen is tasked with talking and entertaining at royal banquets
In order to cater for the 95-year-old royal, Graham revealed: “we tried to keep the portions quite small,” which sometimes proved problematic when catering for multiple royal households.
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“One of the most challenging banquets we ever catered for was when we advocated for two royal households. We had the Qatari royal family and our royal family, who hosted a luncheon down in Pembroke,” explained Graham.
Royal banquets can often feature several courses
“The biggest problem we faced, was that the two royal households just couldn’t agree on the menu. Arabic cuisine and culture tends to involve lots and lots of indulgent food, whereas for our royal family, a three-course menu (if that) would be enough.”
Graham revealed the Queen thanked him following the banquet, but did agree it was: “quite a lot of food!”
Now Executive Chef for The Vines at Carden Park Hotel, Graham’s experience creating exquisite menus for the royal family had led to an accomplished career. The Vines is the most recent restaurant development at Carden Park, offering exquisite dining in an elegant evening atmosphere. Executive Chef Graham Tinsley MBE and Head Chef Harri Williams have formulated a classic à la carte menu with the finest locally sourced ingredients, showcasing true culinary craftsmanship. Bookings for Carden Park ‘The Vines’ can be made at https://www.cardenpark.co.uk/dine/the-vines/
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