Have you ever wondered what it's like to cater for a royal? Serving food to the likes of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, or the Prince and Princess of Wales is no easy feat, with every menu item having to go through a rigorous trial process before it lands on the plates of the royals.
Sanjay Anand MBE, founder of Madhu's of Mayfair, is a royal caterer well versed in the process of catering for the royal family, having served his own family's recipes to King Charles for over a decade. In an exclusive interview with HELLO!, Sanjay revealed the intricacies of royal dining - and the most difficult part of curating a royal-approved menu.
WATCH: A rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at a Buckingham Palace banquet
"The first few times Madhu's was invited to cater for the royals it was definitely a little nerve-wracking," says Sanjay. "Though I think over the years, we know the drill and have perfected our method to guarantee the perfect menu."
An expert in serving luxury Indian cuisine, Sanjay explains: "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."
Sanjay Anand MBE has personally dined with Prince Charles
"In fact, I'd say that the Palace representatives are harder to please than the royals themselves!" Sanjay admitted. "I always find the tastings are more difficult than the event."
Indeed, trialling a menu before it is served to a royal isn't the only preparation that goes into a catered event.
According to Secrets of the Royal Kitchen, there is no particular dish created for a monarch during these events, and one plate is chosen at random to be served to the royal.
"After everything is plated up, a page chooses at random one of the plates to be served to His or Her Majesty. So if anyone did want to poison the monarch they’d have to poison the whole lot," royal commentator Emily Andrews said.
Lots of preparation goes into the menu of a state banquet or royal event
Though it may seem excessive to pre-trial a menu, clearly the Palace tasters have an expert palette and insight into which dishes the royal family will actually enjoy.
Sanjay recalled a time when the monarch personally requested the recipe following an event, making the fret of pre-event tasting sessions seem worth it.
"We're incredibly proud of my sister, who creates all our special menus. King Charles personally requested one of her recipes that he had eaten to be put on his website," Sanjay told HELLO!.
Madhu's of Mayfair could rival the interior of Buckingham Palace
Inspired by the work of his grandfather, Sanjay Anand opened Madhu’s in 1980 at the age of 17 and was honoured with an MBE in 2007 for his services to the hospitality industry. Specialising in luxury Indian cuisine the family brand have catered for HRH Prince Charles on several occasions, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, no.10 Downing Street and many more.
They also have pop-ups at Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and were the first to receive an external catering contract at The Savoy following 147 years of in-house catering.
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