Chef Darren McGrady thinks cereal is worthy of a royal wedding
When Chef Darren McGrady was working at the Savoy Hotel in London, in 1981, he camped out at Buckingham Palace with his family to watch Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s wedding. At the time, there was a job opening for a chef at Buckingham Palace, cooking for the royal family, and he applied for it. Less than a year later, he was working for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1993, McGrady got a job as the private chef for Diana, where he cooked for the Princess and her sons, Princes William and Harry. Suffice it to say McGrady knows his stuff when it comes to royal breakfasting.
“The Queen doesn’t have a cooked breakfast; she has Special K,” McGrady told me when I met him at Kellogg’s NYC in Manhattan. As a royal warrant holder, Kellogg’s is the official cereal provider of the royal household, and it’s clear that the Queen is a fan. According to McGrady, the Queen enjoys cereal without pomp and circumstance: She would eat it from a plastic container in the kitchen.
McGrady said that Prince Harry prefers a full English breakfast—in fact, the Prince once told McGrady that the best way to make crispy bacon was to cook it in the microwave. “I looked at him and thought, What do you know about cooking, just get out of the kitchen," McGrady said. “And then I thought I’ll just try it, and the bacon did come out super-crispy. So that was my first cooking lesson from Prince Harry.”
In addition to the full English and bowls of Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes, McGrady told me that Prince Harry and William both loved muffins when they were growing up. The chef often made the princes peanut butter and jelly muffins, and then he’d crumble crispy, microwaved bacon on top.
While Prince Harry probably won’t serve microwaved bacon or Special K at his wedding to Meghan Markle this weekend, I asked McGrady what he would prepare if he were making a breakfast spread for the royal wedding.
McGrady told me that Kellogg’s actually let him create his dream royal wedding breakfast, to be served at Kellogg’s NYC. The chef folded Frosted Flakes into scone batter (the Queen has scones with clotted cream daily) and served them with Froot Loops-infused whipped cream; he decked out Special K with chocolate ganache, English walnuts, and fresh peaches—the Queen’s favorite; and he even managed to incorporate Raisin Bran into his take on an elderflower wedding cake, similar to the one Prince Harry and Markle will cut into on Saturday.
“I want to make dishes that have stories to them,” McGrady said. “Stories help make people feel like they’re a part of the celebration.”