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The key coronation detail King Charles knows nothing about

 HELLO! spoke to royal chef Graham Tinsley MBE ahead of the coronation to find out what's in store

King Charles in royal ensemble looking surprised
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
27 April 2023
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King Charles is set to be a busy man in the coming weeks, with preparations for his coronation on 6 May well underway.

While he's likely to have had input in many aspects of his coronation, from the guest list to the crown he wears, there's one essential element of the coronation day that King Charles is unlikely to have been consulted about – the menu for the banquet.

HELLO! travelled to Carden Park in Cheshire to interview royal chef Graham Tinsley MBE, who has cooked for the king countless times, to get the inside scoop on how the menu for royal banquets is decided upon.

King Charles looking serious in a suit and glasses© Getty
King Charles doesn't have a say in the menus for royal banquets

Graham shared the surprising news that King Charles is probably in the dark about what is set to be served on his big day.

"When it comes to choosing the menu for the banquet, most of the time they leave it up to us," Graham told HELLO! "The royals don't really interfere with the menu because the food is secondary.

"It's the occasion first of all, and the food afterwards. This was especially the case with the late Queen because she was so busy entertaining, she rarely ate what we prepared. The royals don't tend to approve what is set to be served at the banquet."

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Without input from the royals, it seems a daunting decision to choose what to serve at a royal banquet. However, during his time preparing meals for King Charles and Queen Elizabeth II, along with many other dignitaries and heads of state, Graham honed the skill, explaining that the menu was always dictated by what was in season and what was local to the area of the banquet.

"When we're planning a royal menu, we've got to consider what the occasion is, what's in season, what would the royals would like and whether it's a lunch or a dinner."

King Charles's coronation takes place on 6 May© Getty
King Charles' coronation takes place on 6 May

Of course, the royals' personal tastes are taken into consideration, with Graham explaining that Queen Consort Camilla's concern that there would be garlic and chilli in the coronation menu – two ingredients her son said she doesn't like – needn't be a worry.

"We never really included chilli or garlic," Graham shared. "I don't think Charles likes a lot of garlic and we wouldn't use chilli anyway in any of our dishes. So there's no problem about leaving those two out."

Undaunted by the task of preparing a menu set to be eaten by the royal family, Graham explained: "It's just the same as what we do every week working in restaurants and devising menus."

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Ever the pro, Graham explained that he and his team didn't even perform trial runs of preparing banquets ahead of big events.

"We know what we're doing. Once the menu is sorted, the biggest thing then is the organisation; making sure you write all your lists about what you need to order, and what you need to take with you. It's what we do every day.

"We just have to plan our time scale and make sure that we're early just in case we have problems getting through security."

King Charles III waving and smiling© Getty Images
King Charles III is preparing for his coronation

One thing Graham and his team have put a lot of consideration into is the coronation menu he will be preparing at The Vines, the fine dining restaurant he oversees at Carden Park.

Over the coronation bank holiday weekend, The Vines will be serving a special, limited edition menu, with each course inspired by a banquet Graham has prepared for the king.

The delicious offering includes Rhug Estate loin Of lamb with shepherd’s pie, inspired by the 50th-anniversary celebration of King Charles being named the Prince of Wales, alongside Wye Valley asparagus with quail egg, inspired by a dinner for the Punta of Patagonia at Caerphilly Castle, with King Charles in attendance.

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"I look back on all the menus that I had created for Charles all the way through and then tried to find dishes on those menus that would suit the restaurant here, and the season," Graham explained of his decision-making process.

"Of course, if it was a menu from 1998, food tastes and choices have developed, so it's a case of having a look at it, seeing how we can tweak it for a modern interpretation of that dish.

Book The Vines here 

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