A few royal chefs spilled some secrets about the Queen’s eating habits.

By Tessa Berenson
Dominic Lipinski—AFP/Getty Images

If you’re a royal chef, there’s one rule you must always remember when you cook for Queen Elizabeth: never, ever use garlic.

“We can never serve anything with garlic or too much onions,” Darren McGrady, author of Eating Royally and a royal family cook for more than 15 years, told Recipes Plus

John Higgins, another former Buckingham Palace chef, told similar tales of the Queen’s garlic aversion to the National Post last year. “The Queen is a wonderful lady, the royal family are wonderful people but they’re missing out on garlic because at Buckingham Palace, you don’t cook with garlic,” he said. “I suppose, in case you get the royal burp.”

Higgins said the garlic rule is an easy way to figure out if chefs are lying about having cooked for the royal family. “I hear chefs say, ‘I cooked for the Queen’ or ‘Here is a recipe that’s authentic from Buckingham Palace,’ and the first thing I look for is garlic,” he said.

McGrady says the Queen also avoids eating starches, potatoes or pasta, except on special occasions. She typically sticks to grilled fish or chicken, vegetables, salads and fresh fruit.  

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During his tenure cooking for Queen Elizabeth, he also learned another valuable lesson—never shortchange her favorite pets. McGrady recalls in one of his earliest assignments being told to delicately prepare three carrots, peeling them, chopping them at finger length, and trimming them neatly. “She really likes her carrots, doesn’t she?” McGrady recalled asking the head chef. “He then replied, ’No, they are not for the Queen, but for her horse.’”