PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Darren McGrady knows a thing or two about the Royal Family. He was at the Windsor Castle for 11 years, working in the Queen’s kitchen, as her personal chef. As he was whipping up chocolate ganache for a breakfast dish, he spoke of the Queen’s peaches. “We used to use them a lot at Buckingham palace,” he said, dicing them up for the breakfast cereal he prepared, fit for a Queen.
McGrady will be watching (along with the rest of the world) on Saturday as Prince Harry weds Meghan Markle. He’ll be at the Kellogg’s NYC Cafe in New York City, making cereal inspired-dishes. McGrady says the Queen, just like us, eat cereal too! But with a touch of fancy that us commoners perhaps won’t dish out in those wee hours of the morning, as we walk to our kitchens, groggy eyed, in our pajamas. The touch of fancy here – is a drizzle of that chocolate ganache.
A TRIP TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE
On July 29th, 1981, McGrady and his mom, slept outside the palace to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer. That brought him to the gates. What got in inside the gates was his talent.
“I thought I want to be a chef at the royal kitchens,” he said. He applied and got in, working in the palace kitchens, cooking for kings, queens, presidents and even royal weddings. He was there when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson. The weddings take a lot of planning. “The head chef will meet with the bride and groom, just like a normal wedding, find out what their favorites are,” he said.
THE AMERICAN PRINCESS
He has known Prince Harry and Prince William since they were little babies. McGrady was the personal chef to Princess Diana and her sons in the last years of her life. He remembers one moment vividly. It was when Princess Diana came to the kitchen with a young Prince Harry in her arms. “She came down to the kitchen at Windsor castle carrying prince Harry as a baby and said, hold Harry for me while I eat some cereal,” he recalls. I thought oh, literally holding the crown jewels. It was so scary.”
After Diana’s death in 1997, McGrady moved to North Texas to be a private chef for a family here. Now, he runs a catering business called “Eating Royally.”
THE WORLD WILL BE WATCHING
McGrady is thrilled for the Royal wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19th. He says Meghan will certainly bring a little bit of Americana with her to the palace – she’s already enlisted a California baker to make the cake – but he knows there will be one ingredient on the menu for sure.
“The queen’s a chocoholic,” he said. “So anything chocolate on the menu is a must.”
He adds, caramel banana cake was Prince Harry’s favorite, as a boy. We will watch along with him if that ends up on the menu.
Click here to learn more about eating royally.