Cooking for the royal family isn’t exactly a cake walk, even if you’re a celebrity chef! Giada de Laurentiis had the honor of preparing food for Prince William and Duchess Kate during the couple’s visit to California in 2011, and she remembers the experience as a “nerve-wracking” one.
“I was so excited to cook that meal, albeit a little terrified!” de Laurentiis, 49, recently told Insider. Apparently the Rome-born chef had agreed to cater the event — The Foundation Polo Challenge in Santa Barbara — before the royal pair, who were newlyweds at the time, were added to the guest list.
“I had no idea the royal couple would be attending,” she explained to the Today show in 2011. “And when I finally found out, it was actually kind of a bummer. I couldn’t tell anyone — I had to keep it hush-hush until their California itinerary was released.”
The Giadzy creator revealed to Insider that she doesn’t often get starstruck, but considering she watched the royal wedding with her daughter, Jade, who was 3 at the time, all bets were off. “I’ll admit, I was pretty anxious meeting them,” she recounted. “It was nerve-wracking cooking a meal for actual royalty.”
Still, de Laurentiis had an easy technique for keeping her nerves in check. “I kept reminding myself that I was in my element,” she recalled.
As the Food Network star explained to Epicurious two months after her royal culinary experience, she wanted to give the couple, both now 37, a taste of local California fare on their first visit to the Golden State. “The whole idea behind the menu was just to give them an understanding of what California cuisine is: fresh, organic ingredients,” de Laurentiis told the publication.
Furthermore, the menu, which included pea pesto crostini, a California chopped salad, chicken Milanese and some chocolate for William, was a hit with the future king of England. “I’ll never forget Prince William approaching me afterward and telling me about a disastrous lasagna he had made and he asked for my advice!” the Everyday Italian author told Insider.
Family meals are a common occurrence for William and Kate, who now have three children – Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 18 months. Earlier this month, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed that curry nights are popular with her clan, but cooking the dish for five can be pretty tricky. “It’s so hard cooking curry in the family,” she said to her husband during a visit to the Aga Khan Center in London. “The children have a portion with no spice, yours is medium and I quite like it hot.”
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