Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Why the Queen won't be able to eat her favourite food at Balmoral just yet

Former royal chef and author Darren McGrady worked for the Queen for 11 years

queen headscarf
Ainhoa Barcelona
Ainhoa BarcelonaContent Managing Editor
Share this:

Fans may be forgiven for thinking the Queen can request any type of food she wants at any time of the day. She is the Queen after all. But sadly for the monarch, there is one dish she hasn't been able to indulge in during her summer holiday in Scotland. Her Majesty is a big fan of grouse but because of the recent heatwave, the shoots on her estate have been cut back.

The Queen's former chef Darren McGrady told HELLO!: "I was at Balmoral Castle last week and was talking to a friend who works on the estate. He was telling me that the hot weather had killed so many chicks the shoots had been cut back. Grouse season started on Monday. Sunday was officially the 'glorious twelfth' but you can't shoot on a Sunday in Scotland. The first official grouse shoot is this Friday."

Take a peek at Balmoral over the years:

Darren, who worked for Her Majesty for 11 years before cooking for Princess Diana for four, added: "The Queen loves grouse. It will be on the Balmoral menu for the next two months. Most of the time it was served as roast grouse with game chips, bread sauce and redcurrant jelly."

MORE: Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford share a kiss live on air


The hot weather has killed so many chicks that shoots have been cut back (Photo courtesy of Darren McGrady)

The chef, author of Eating Royally, has previously spoken to HELLO! about the Queen's preferred foods, revealing that she isn't much of a foodie. She does, however, love game. "For a main course, any game, she loved game," said Darren. "Things like Gaelic steak, fillet steak with a mushroom whisky sauce, especially if we did it with venison fillet instead. For first course, things like Gleneagles pâté which was smoked salmon, trout and mackerel. She loved using ingredients off the estate and so if we had salmon from Balmoral from the River Dee, she'd have that, it was one of her favourites."

MORE: Is Kara Tointon pregnant? See the photos


Staff source ingredients from the estate, including salmon from the River Dee (Photo courtesy of Darren McGrady)

Darren also recalled a hilarious moment when he mistook Prince Philip for one of the gardeners. "The first few weeks I was working at Buckingham Palace we never saw anyone at all, but when we went to Balmoral they said a member of the royal family could come down to the kitchen at any time," Darren recalled.

"I saw Prince Philip come down to the kitchen and he was in a tatty old jumper with the elbows hanging out. I thought he was one of the gardeners! The gardeners would take fruit up to the kitchen because at Balmoral they have their own fruit and vegetable garden. I looked over and the senior chef said, 'No, that's the Duke.' I thought, 'Oh my gosh!' I'd only ever seen him in a suit."

More Royalty

See more