Not a fan! Queen Elizabeth II apparently has no place for pizza in her diet. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the monarch and various members of her famous family for 15 years, she’s never had the Italian staple — at least not on his watch.
“In the years that I cooked at [Buckingham] palace, the queen never had pizza,” the culinary pro, 58, told Us Weekly exclusively last month. “I didn’t start cooking pizza until I moved across to Kensington palace.”
Once he relocated to the other famous residence to start cooking for the late Princess Diana and her family for the last four years of his royal career, McGrady noted pizza became a staple on the royal menu. “I [made] pizza all the time for William,” he recalled. “In my second cookbook, The Royal Chef at Home, there’s a chicken tikka masala pizza [recipe] because, he loves Indian food. The pizza combined the two.”
Duchess Kate previously addressed the 94-year-old queen’s history with pizza (or lack thereof) during a January 2019 visit to the King Henry’s Walk Garden in the London borough of Islington. The outing included a pizza-making session with a group of local schoolchildren during which one of the little ones asked the Duchess of Cambridge, 38, if the monarch had ever eaten the popular food.
“You know, that’s such a good question. I don’t know,” Kate answered at the time. “I don’t know. Maybe next time I see her, shall I ask?”
For the record, Kate said she was a fan of pizza and especially liked it if it was topped with bacon or “some other meat.”
While it appears pizza doesn’t often make the rounds at Buckingham Palace, McGrady did share some of her majesty’s favorite foods. “The queen loved chocolate, so anything that we put on the menu with chocolate [was a hit],” he told Us. According to the Eating Royally author, the queen had a particular fondness for dark chocolate. She “loved” chocolate that was “80 percent [cacao] and higher,” he noted.
Another hit with the queen? Food that was hunted or picked on the grounds of one of her many royal residences. “She loved game too and even more so if it’s from off the estate — whether it was salmon, deer from Balmoral or maybe some venison from Sandringham,” he said, noting that Balmoral was also known for its berries while Sandringham boasted “the most amazing apples.”
McGrady, who now runs a catering business in Texas, added: “The queen loved to see anything like that on the menu.”
Though the queen certainly had the ability to “pop in” the kitchen, McGrady noted that the royal “never” sent a dish back and said seeing her in the kitchen was a “pretty rare” occurrence.
Among his happiest memories of the monarch was seeing her “have fun with the family” and “let her hair down.”
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