The Tough Process To Create A Menu For Britain's Royal Family

Catering can be nerve-wracking. Planning — in concert with the client — an ideal meal for an event, shopping for the right ingredients, cooking on-site in an unknown space, plating and serving multiple dishes simultaneously, all at the proper temp; these variables are enough to make most chefs steer clear of the catering world. But what if the client was more than just an average person looking for a quality catered party? What if instead of cooking and serving at their house or office, the caterer in question was asked to create a meal to be served at their palace?

Such is the case when the British royal family asks chefs to grace with their cooking skills one of the many functions they host. Sanjay Anand MBE, the chef of the celebrated Indian restaurant Madhu's of Mayfair in London, knows all too well the idiosyncrasies of cooking for members of the royal family. Speaking with Hello! Magazine, Anand, whose restaurant is beloved by King Charles III, describes how the process begins. "The royals send representatives from the Palace to come and do tastings before a menu is finalised. We put a menu together and then will give them a selection of our best dishes, where they will then pick their favourite one to be served to the royal family. Occasionally we'll be asked to tone the chilli level down, or make other minor adjustments. In fact, I'd say that the Palace representatives are harder to please than the royals themselves!"

Security is important

Beyond simply ensuring that the dishes are delicious, chefs that cater to the royal family must also be willing to abide by strict security protocols. According to sources who spoke with Hello! Magazine, no single plate is created for the monarch, but rather their plate is chosen from among the others, a move that ensures poisoning a king or queen would be difficult.

Another chef who cooked multiple times for Queen Elizabeth revealed further culinary security measures employed by the royal household. Chef Graham Tinsley told the New York Post that when Her Royal Highness was entertaining foreign heads of state, he and his staff were escorted to the catering site by the police. Then all their food and equipment would be sent through an x-ray scanner to ensure it was indeed what they claimed it to be.

In the U.S., food security is also a big deal when it comes to our head of state despite their by-design lack of royal status. Former White House chef Walter Scheib tells Washingtonian Magazine that while there aren't "food tasters" who have to sample the president's food to personally screen for poison, he and his staff do all have to obtain "top secret presidential proximity clearance," which places them in a trusted group allowed to handle food for the president and their family.