The Food King Charles Enjoys Foraging At Balmoral Castle

Whether starting his day off with breakfast, snacking on fruit, or dining on pheasant pie, King Charles has long preferred fresh, organic meals made with whole foods and local ingredients. An advocate for sustainable food practices, the King eats a primarily plant-based diet, per The Independent, and includes at least one boiled egg from farm-raised chickens with each meal (via Hello Magazine). So when Chef Darren McGrady revealed some of the King's former eating preferences to Insider, particularly his penchant for produce taken directly from royal grounds, we weren't too surprised. 

McGrady has years of experience preparing food for royalty and leaders. The chef has quite an impressive resume, having served as the personal chef for Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince and Princess of Wales and previously cooking for five American presidents (per the chef's website). McGrady remembered that King Charles would invite chefs to the Balmoral Castle in Scotland to make use of the wild ingredients found on the estate. This would often involve a bit of foraging — and King Charles would also participate.

From field to plate

Chef Darren McGrady recalls combing through Balmoral's 50,000 acre estate to forage for mushrooms. "We came back and sautéed and froze enough wild mushrooms to last months for the royal table," McGrady recollected to Insider. They were able to forage all that fungi with the help of Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, a beloved restauranteur and food expert who was known for his love of foraging and passion for Italian cuisine (per The Antonio Carluccio Foundation). Dehydrated mushrooms can keep for up to a year, as McGrady explains on YouTube, and can be rehydrated and added to a variety of dishes — like the mushroom risotto McGrady once prepared for King Charles.

King Charles particularly adored Italian food, insists McGrady, and wild mushroom risotto was one of the dishes that could showcase the delicious bounty of mushrooms plucked right from the Balmoral grounds. To serve yourself a dish equally fit for a king — without the hassle of foraging for ingredients in fields — we have an instant pot mushroom risotto recipe that offers a decadent, satisfying meal that could easily be presented to a family of dignitaries.