When we think of royal banquets, we envisage lavish table settings, a decadent multi-course menu set within a grand dining room and an elite, royal-approved guest list. Graham Tinsley MBE, former manager of the Welsh Culinary Team, experienced the insider scoop firsthand as he led his team of culinary experts catering for royal events across Wales
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Now Executive Chef for The Vines at Carden Park Hotel, Graham's experience creating exquisite menus for the royal family had led to an accomplished career. Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, the former royal chef shared fascinating details on his time catering for the royal family - from his personal 'thank you' from Prince Philip to discovering Prince Charles' unusual dining table quirks.
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When it comes to creating banquet menus, Graham revealed the only "little quirks" the team found were with Prince Charles, who is the patron of the Welsh Culinary Team.
"Prince Charles doesn't like chocolate, he doesn't like coffee, nor does he like garlic. So we do have to consider these things when we're creating a menu for him," explained Graham.
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"Wherever he goes for a banquet, he always takes a few things with him to be placed on his table. He always takes a little silver Maldon sea salt container, and his favourite cushion. You can always spot Prince Charles' place setting at a table, because all his bits and pieces are there."
Prince Charles requires a pot of Maldon sea salt at every banquet
The MailOnline previously reported the royal's "favourite silk cushion" goes with him wherever he goes "to ease his back pain, which makes it difficult for him to sit for more than an hour".
The Queen's son may be privy to some of the best food in the world, but that doesn’t stop Prince Charles from requesting some of his home comforts – even at royal banquets.
"The Prince requires a side salad for every meal - and this salad was very precise," says Graham.
Charles is a fan of a coddled egg - a boiled egg that has only been cooked for about two to three minutes, and the unusual delicacy was always on the menu for him.
The Princes of Wales likes to mash an egg into his side salad
"Normally, a soft-boiled egg takes around five minutes. So imagine this coddled egg… it's going to be very, very soft. Prince Charles required a coddled egg that was peeled and hidden beneath salad leaves. He would then mash his salad leaves into the eggs to make a dressing – a bit like mayonnaise.
"Now, if you can imagine peeling an egg that's only been boiled for a few minutes – you'd have to make several at a time because you'd end up breaking them in the process!"
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Prince Charles' place setting requirements don't just affect his food, as The Sunday Times previously reported the royal only likes his tea made with loose tea leaves in a teapot, "with the ration being one teaspoon of leaves per each cup of tea, plus one for the pot." Not a Yorkshire teabag in sight then!
When drinking green tea, the Queen's son also requires his water to be heated to 70C, while Early Grey tea must be piping hot at 100C. What Charles lacks in sweetness from hating chocolate, the royal makes up for in heaped spoonfuls of organic honey - which he reportedly adds straight to the teapot.
The Vines is the most recent restaurant development at Carden Park, offering exquisite dining in an elegant evening atmosphere. Executive Chef Graham Tinsley MBE and Head Chef Harri Williams have formulated a classic à la carte menu with the finest locally sourced ingredients, showcasing true culinary craftsmanship. Bookings for Carden Park ‘The Vines’ can be made at https://www.cardenpark.co.uk/dine/the-vines/