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Have you ever wondered what the Queen eats for dinner? Darren McGrady knows the answer.

For 15 years, Darren was the private chef to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, Princess Diana, William and Harry. Over the course of his career, he has cooked for over 100 kings, queens and presidents—and now he’s sharing his secrets in his new book, The Royal Chef at Home.

Darren recently sat down with The Social hosts to dish on his time at the Palace and share some of the recipes the Royals loved.


Rustic Date and Apple Pastry


For the pastry:

  • ¼ Cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ Cup lard or solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ Teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • ½ Teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the filling:

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6-8), peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 2/3 Chopped Walnuts
  • 8 Large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons demerara sugar

For Garnish:

  • 1 Cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  1. In a large bowl rub the butter and lard/shortening into the flour, sugar and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and vinegar and mix until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the apples and sauté until they start to soften- about 10 minutes. Add the cardmom and cinnamon and 1/3 cup of the honey, stir in and cook 1 minute. Take it off the stove and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  3. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to about 12-inch round and place on a baking sheet. Spoon half of the apple mixture over crust, leaving 2-inch plain border. Sprinkle dates and nuts over the apples. Top with remaining apple mixture. Fold outer edge of crust over apples (dough is delicate; press together any tears). Whisk egg and milk in bowl. Brush edges generously with egg mixture. Sprinkle the crust with the demerara sugar.
  4. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool for about 45 minutes. Whip the cream with the sugar, cinnamon and  vanilla until stiff and serve with the pastry.

Beef Bourguignon


  • 2 Pounds beef chuck, diced into large chunks about 2 inches wide
  • ¼ Cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 Cup flour
  • 1 Cup smoked thick cut bacon cut into ¼ inch strips, about 1/3 to ½ of a pound
  • 1 ½ cups red wine (I prefer Zinfandel, but any nice red will do)
  • 1 ½ Cups beef broth
  • 2 Cups mushrooms-quartered
  • 1 Cup of peeled pearl onions
  • ½ Cup chopped parsley


  1. In a large skillet heat the oil until smoking hot. Dry the beef with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Carefully add the beef to the pan and sauté until brown on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan, leaving room between the pieces so they can properly brown and not steam. Brown in batches, if necessary. Strain the beef into a colander, discarding the oil.
  2. Place the beef into a large eight-quart heavy pot and stir in the flour. Add the bacon, red wine and broth and stir. You want the meat to be almost fully submerged in liquid. Add the quartered mushrooms and pearl onions and bring the pot briefly to a boil on the stove top. Stir once more, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and place a lid on the pan. Stir the meat every fifteen minutes. Alternatively, you can place the covered pot in a low 325F oven, again checking every 15 minutes and giving it a good stir to prevent any sticking or burning. Cook until beef is fork tender, about 2 hours.  Pour into a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley.

Kale and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Makes 4 portions


  • 2 Pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 Stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Large bunch kale, stems discarded, shredded and rinsed thoroughly of grit
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • ½ Cup soft goat cheese, room temperature
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the potatoes in a large stockpot with and fill with water to cover. Salt well and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until fork-tender
  2. Heat ½ stick of butter over medium heat in a large pan and sauté the garlic and kale until tender, about 3-5 minutes, and set aside.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, and then add the cream gradually, mixing to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the kale and then the goat cheese, adjust the seasoning and serve hot.

Caramel Chocolate Trifle

Serves 6


For the sponge base

  • 1 Cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Sticks butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 ¼ Cups self-rising flour  
  • ½ Cup dark cocoa

For the mousse filling

  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons butter
  •  7 Ounces milk chocolate
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 3 Eggs whites
  • 1 Cup Baileys Irish cream
  • 1 (15 ounce) Can pears
  • 1 Cup heavy cream, whipped until it forms stiff peaks
  • 1 Heath bar, chopped
  • A large high sided glass serving bowl


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line with parchment a 9x12x2 sheet pan.
  2. Prepare the sponge by beating the sugar and butter until creamy and lemon coloured, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Fold in the flour and cocoa and spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes until the sponge springs back when pressed. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack to cool. Cut the sponge in half and freeze one half. Cut the remaining half into 1 inch chunks and place on the bottom of a large serving bowl.
  3.  Prepare the mousse by putting the sugar and water into a small heavy based pan over high heat. Do not stir, swirl the pan as the sugar starts to brown. Cook to a dark caramel and remove from the heat. Add the butter and cream and then the chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Beat in the egg yolks and remove to a large bowl. Whip the egg whites until stiff fold into the chocolate mix. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool.
  4. Pour the Baileys Irish cream over the sponge. Drain and dice the pears into bite size pieces and lay on top of the sponge. Pour the chocolate caramel mousse over the pears and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will help the mousse to set up and become a bit firmer.
  5. Spread the cup of whipped cream over the mousse and sprinkle the chopped Heath bar over the top just before serving.
All recipes courtesy of The Royal Chef at Home