Chef, culinary instructor and caterer Darren McGrady knows a thing or two about hosting epic dinner parties: As the former chef to England’s royal family — first for Queen Elizabeth II in the royal kitchen at Buckingham Palace and then as the personal chef for Princess Diana at Kensington Palace — he cooked not just for the royals, but for celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world.
After 15 years with the royal family, McGrady moved to the U.S. and became a personal chef to a family in Texas. He now runs a catering company in the Dallas area, where he helps his clients with high-end events, teaches cooking classes and leads culinary tours.
With those upper-crust credentials, you might assume that any recipes McGrady shares would be way too fussy for a home cook. But the recipes in his new book, “The Royal Chef at Home: Easy Seasonal Entertaining,” are approachable for cooks of all skill levels and he includes plenty of timesaving tips and make-ahead options. McGrady told TODAY Food that he wanted to showcase “recipes that were foolproof — to the standard of what I did at Buckingham Palace but doable as a home chef.”
With one of the year’s biggest food holidays fast approaching, McGrady shared five recipes for a full Christmas dinner: Each dish has a connection to the royal family, but you don’t need the skills of a royal chef to make them.
With a little planning, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the meal with your friends and family, instead of running back and forth between the kitchen and dining room. After all, says McGrady, your guests aren’t coming over for a restaurant-style experience, but “they are coming over for your company.”
Dick Patrick / The Royal Chef at Home