Former Royal Chef Darren McGrady Says Cooking for Princess Diana Was ‘Relaxed’ and ‘Healthy’

Former Royal Chef Describes Cooking Healthy Princess Diana
Chef Darren McGrady. Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Former royal chef Darren McGrady has fond memories of working for Princess Diana and revealed the late royal was “relaxed” and “healthy” when it came to her meals.

The culinary pro, 58, was the personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Diana, and Princes William and Harry for 15 years. During his time with the former Princess of Wales, which lasted for four years, McGrady cooked plenty of vegetable and fish-focused dishes.

“She said to me, ‘Darren, you take care of all the fats and I’ll take care of the carbs at the gym,’” McGrady recalled. “And my cooking changed.”

While McGrady used plenty of heavy cream, butter and rich sauces while working for the queen, 93, and other royals, it was all about “healthy eating” when he prepared food for Diana. In fact, one of the princess’ favorite dishes was stuffed bell peppers — which was made by loading a pepper with zucchini, mushrooms, a small helping of rice and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese, and then topping the whole thing with a smoked tomato sauce.

Former Royal Chef Describes Cooking Healthy Princess Diana
Princess Diana. Peter Price/Shutterstock

As the former Buckingham Palace employee explained in a YouTube video published by Delish on Wednesday, January 29, he typically prepared this meal for Diana “two or three times a week” because she didn’t eat beef and seldom feasted on other red meats, such as lamb.

“For the most part, it was vegetarian dishes,” he explained, “Something like the stuffed bell peppers or stuffed eggplant. She’d also eat fish as well, she loved eating fish.”

Per the princess’ request, McGrady used very little fats when whipping up meals for her and avoided cream and butter altogether. However, while garlic is a serious no-no for Queen Elizabeth, Diana “didn’t mind” the pungent spice.

According to McGrady, it wasn’t uncommon for Diana to wander into the kitchen around mealtime and eat there. “When the princess came into the kitchen, it was so relaxed,” he explained, noting that Diana was known to fetch her own coffee and even offer some to the staff.

During his time with Diana, who died in a car accident in Paris in August 1997 when she was 36, McGrady said she looked “amazing.”

“She’d gone into the real healthy eating,” he continued. “She was doing juicing and things, I think before juicing had even been invented. It was real healthy eating and she stayed on top of all of that.”

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