Royal foodie alert! Though England’s Queen Elizabeth II isn’t known for deviating too wildly from her favorite dishes when it comes to sitting down for a meal – she has a penchant for toast with marmalade and chocolate cake – the royal has expanded her palette as of late.
Per royal chef Mark Flanagan, who is featured in a new documentary about Queen Elizabeth II called Queen of the World, the monarch, 92, is a big fan of Caribbean food, which she tasted earlier this year when Buckingham Palace invited eight rising stars in that region’s hospitality industry to take part in a six-week program called The Caribbean Scholars initiative.
The group of housekeepers, waitstaff and chefs came from eight of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth and were given the chance to work in the palace. For the chefs, that meant cooking meals – often for Queen Elizabeth II and her guests – in the royal kitchen.
“Every day this week, me and the Caribbean Scholars are going to feature one or two dishes from the Caribbean to give them a little taste to what we eat at home, give them that little experience as well,” chef Jared Forbes, Food Service Manager at Government House in Nassau, Bahamas, says in the documentary, according to Today.
“It’s a change, I guess, from what they’re used to — from fish and chips,” Forbes adds. “I don’t think that when my grandmother taught me to make this rice that she ever thought I’d be serving it at Buckingham Palace, so I’m quite proud of that.”
According to Flanagan, the cuisine was a big hit with the queen. “A number of the Caribbean dishes were particularly well received,” he noted. Her favorite dish, however, was the protein-packed callaloo soup.
So what exactly is in the royal’s new favorite meal? Though recipes tend to vary a bit from country to country, the soup typically features callaloo greens, which are very similar to spinach, and an array of spices often including thyme, allspice and garlic. Coconut milk is frequently used to flavor and thicken the soup, which may also include beef or pork.
Added Flanagan: “The callaloo soup was an absolute sensation,” which the queen requested to enjoy again. “I had email after email telling me that it must now feature more regularly,” he said.
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