Former royal chef Darren McGrady shares the dishes Princess Diana loved to eat

By Heather Cichowski

There is a fascination about the Royal Family's eating habits, including what they will – and won't – eat. No one knows better than former royal chef Darren McGrady, who was a personal chef to the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince William, Prince Harry and the late Princess Diana. Darren recently shared some insight on the British royals' favourite meals, along with his fond memories of the late Princess of Wales.

MORE: The Queen is hiring a Buckingham Palace chef

Darren was a chef for Diana for four years. In a video for Delish, he shared a recipe for one of her favourite meals: stuffed bell peppers with an eggplant, zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella filling with a smoked tomato sauce.

In the clip, Darren said Diana favoured vegetarian dishes and would sometimes eat the stuffed bell peppers two to three times a week! As for her tastes in meat, he said she wouldn't eat beef, but would occasionally have lamb if she was entertaining. He emphasized she was partial to fish.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles enjoy a desert picnic in Saudi Arabia in November 1986. Photo: © Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

While preparing the delicious and nutritious stuffed peppers in the video, Darren told Delish what it was like working in the royal kitchens and the very first time he saw Diana.

"I was at Balmoral Castle, and I was working there in the pastry kitchen, and I was helping to make some apple pies," he said.

"And the pastry chef was across one side of the table and we were just chatting.

"I looked up and right behind him was Princess Diana. I just stood there, and my face was like [imitates open-mouthed, flabbergasted expression]."

"I think 'hello' and 'goodbye' is all I remember saying," he admitted in the video. "I was beet red and just staring at the princess at the time, all the time. Embarrassing."

Darren McGrady poses in the kitchen at the Hilton Hotel on Richmond St. West in Toronto on August 2007. Photo: © Aaron Lynett/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The chef might have been embarrassed about their initial meeting, but he went on to have many fond memories of Diana. Later in the clip, Darren revealed that she would often come into the kitchen and take a seat!

"It always brings back happy memories, cooking this [stuffed pepper] dish," Darren told Delish. "The princess, when she was on her own for lunch, would come and eat in the kitchen. And she'd often come in early because she was hungry."

Diana, Princess of Wales browses the shelves after opening a Marks & Spencer store in Paris in November 1988. Photo: © Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Darren said he was still busy preparing the meal when Diana would ask what was for lunch. He said when he told her it wasn't quite ready yet, she reportedly replied, "Oh, that's fine, I'll watch you cook."

The former royal chef said he got over his first encounter because he said it was very "relaxed" when Diana came into the kitchen. In fact, she even made him coffee!

"One day she walked in and said, 'Darren, I need a coffee,'" he explained.

She must have noticed he was busy prepping the food because he said she then followed up with, "'Oh, I'll make it, you're busy. Would you like one?'"

"There was Princess Diana making me a coffee!" Darren exclaimed. "It was so much more relaxed at Kensington Palace."

Diana cuts a cake at St Catherine's Hospice in Crawley, West Sussex in September 1988. Photo: © Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

If Darren's memories of cooking for the Royal Family have left you inspired, Buckingham Palace recently posted a job vacancy for a sous chef. The full-time, permanent position is based in London at the Palace, but it will involve travel to other royal residences. The successful candidate has the option of live-in accommodation (for which there's a salary adjustment) with meals provided!

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