Carolyn Robb knows her way around a royal kitchen. As the chef for Prince Charles, Princess Diana and young princes William and Harry from 1989 to 2000, Robb prepared lavish feasts for visiting dignitaries, foraged for wild mushrooms with Charles in Scotland and stocked tiny treacle tarts in the freezer for Harry. Here, Carolyn offers a glimpse into life with the royals, from preparing lunch for the Dalai Lama to baking with the young princes. Plus, her ideal menu to celebrate the littlest royal, Princess Charlotte. Robb's new book, The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking from a Former Royal Chef, is out this month.
On landing the job of a lifetime: When I was 21, I was invited to go to Kensington Palace and interview for a job cooking for the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. I was quite nervous! The Duke and Duchess lived next door to Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the palace. Almost exactly two years later, Princess Diana herself interviewed me and invited me to cook a trial meal for she and the Prince. It was quite a lot of being in the right place at the right time.
On gardening with Prince Charles: His Royal Highness was really one of the forerunners of the organic movement. His farm at Highgrove House was one of the first in the UK to be certified as fully organic. He also had a traditional English kitchen garden with vegetables and fruit trees. We planned all of the menus around what was in the garden. I think Prince Charles saw it as a way of offering good hospitality. He could say to his guests, “These are my carrots from the garden.”