Yes, the Queen Really Has a Royal 'Taster' (Plus, Get a Royally Divine Eggnog Recipe!)
"I produced two plates: one for him and one for her," recalls Raglan Road master chef Kevin Dundon
Chef Kevin Dundon has cooked for celebrities around the world, competed on the U.K. edition of Dancing with the Stars and hosts his own cooking show, Modern Irish Food. But there is nothing quite like cooking for the Queen.
Back in 1992, the monarch turned up at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary, where Dundon was called upon to whip up a special meal.
“There was so much buzz around the hotel—it was completely refurbished before she arrived,” recalls Dundon, the owner of Dubrody Country House Hotel and Cookery School in County Wexford, Ireland, and the master chef at Raglan Road, an Irish gastropub at Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida.
Dundon prepared hickory plank-cooked salmon with maple syrup and a roast rack of lamb for the monarch. But the Queen didn’t have a bite before everything was taste-tested first.
“I produced two plates: one for him and one for her, and he tasted before it was served to her,” says Dundon, who has a family connection to the Queen. (Her father, King George VI, was godfather to Dundon’s grandmother.)
And ordinary plates wouldn’t do: “The Queen brought her own china,” says the chef, a father of three and the author of The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.
Dundon, who is gearing up for Christmas with his family, says his favorite day-after-Christmas (Boxing Day) dish is spiced beef. “It’s brined for a couple of weeks, then dried down and rolled in spiced powder of cloves and cinnamon. In Ireland it started in Cork. It makes a fantastic sandwich.”
As for his go-to Christmas Day indulgence, he recommends spiked homemade eggnog: “It starts the day off right.” Find his recipe below!
4 eggs, separated (farm-fresh are best)
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated (fresh is best)
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs yolks until pale and very frothy.
Add sugar and continue beating then add in a little nutmeg. Spoon in the cream, a little at a time then add the milk a little at a time. Finally, beat in the rum and brandy. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, fold into the eggnog mixture ensuring it is fully incorporated in the liquid. Give your arms a break from all that beating by putting the eggnog in the fridge to chill for 1 or 2 hours! Serve cold.