British Royal Family

Charles and Diana's former chef reveals what it's really like to cook for royalty

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales' former chef dishes on dinner, disasters and teaching two teenaged Princes how to cook spaghetti.

Ever wonder what dinnertime in a royal household is like? Surprisingly normal is the answer, according to the former chef of Prince Charles and Diana.
Carolyn Robb was the personal chef for Prince Charles, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Prince William for over 13 years in their various UK residences, and she has just released her very first cookbook, titled The Royal Touch.
The chef spoke to the website, Racked, about cooking for royalty, counting calories and teaching the Princes how to make spaghetti.
What were some of their favorite foods?
Prince Charles loved to have game from his hunting. At Highgrove, they’d grow their own fruit and vegetables, so almost everything was homegrown. That was the kind of thing he liked most of all—things from the garden, from the estate. Both he and Princess Diana had a really healthy diet.
Was there anything you were told never to make?
The only thing that was forbidden was garlic. And the reason for that was that they obviously did a lot of public engagements and were in close proximity to people and never wanted to have garlic.
Did you have to count calories to make sure they stayed trim?
No, nothing like that. But it was a healthy diet in terms of everything being homemade. Everything was from scratch: bread, pasta, ice cream, as well as ingredients like mayonnaise. As a chef, it’s a real privilege where you’re in a job where you’re able to do that type of stuff!
Would you consider the cooking to be super fancy?
Surprisingly [not]. A lot of the product came from the garden. Lamb would come from the estate, milk would come from the cows on the estates. The pheasants and game were shot so that was no cost and the wild mushrooms, we’d pick and use them throughout the year. It was quite economical, the way the kitchen was run. We would do more extravagant things if we were entertaining.
Talk to me about Prince Harry and Prince William; were they picky eaters as kids?
They were amazingly good. Princess Diana was the one who decided what they were going to eat. Like all children, they had their things they liked to eat, but they’d eat roast chicken, Shepard’s pie, homemade fish fingers. And quite early on, they started eating game. At a young age, they tried to get the boys to eat things that everyone was eating so that later on in their lives they could go off and be in weird, wonderful places eating weird, wonderful things.
Was there anyone in the royal family that wanted to cook? If they did, could they, or was that not an option?
Yes. The kitchen was there and they could have cooked if they wanted to. When the boys were quite young, they used to like to come into the kitchen and we did stuff with them like cookies and meringues. As they got older they were really quite interested in learning to cook, even in college. They had access to a kitchen, I think, at the age of 15. When they came home from school on weekends they’d ask me to teach them how to cook spaghetti bolognese or other recipes they were allowed to make themselves. For the most part, they didn’t cook on their own.
Do you know anything about the current royal chef for Kate?
As far as I understand, they don’t have a chef at the moment. They have a small household and can fend for themselves. They’ll probably want to do that for as long as they can. Have a normal family life because that will really change when you have butlers and nannies and cooks around, the house is no longer your own. I'm sure they want to just be leading a normal family life.
To read the rest of the interview, visit Racked.

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