Darren McGrady, chef to the Royal family from 1982 to 1993, wants to set the record straight on recent media reports that Queen Elizabeth has four alcoholic drinks every day.

"She'd be pickled if she drank that much," McGrady said in an interview with CNN. He says the 91-year old monarch enjoys an occasional gin and Dubonnet and an even more occasional glass of wine, usually of the sweet German variety.


Both the Queen and Prince Philip are disciplined and somewhat diffident eaters. Both have sat down to countless formal five-course meals during her 65-year reign.

A 2015 banquet for China's Xi Jinping, for example, featured turbot and lobster mousse, roast loin of venison with Madeira and truffle sauce with potatoes and vegetables, with a dark chocolate pudding for dessert.

The average night, though, the Queen prefers simpler fare: usually poached or grilled fish, plenty of vegetables, no starch or potatoes. Much of her food comes from her royal estates at Balmoral and Sandringham. Breakfast is often little more than a bowl of Special K or scrambled eggs with toast.

"That's it. That's all she has. She's a very disciplined like that. She could have anything she wanted, but that discipline keeps her so well and so healthy," says McGrady.

Combined with her frugality, this simplicity doesn't always make it easy on the staff.

The Queen's budget leans heavily towards horses and dogs, less on kitchen upgrades. Buckingham Palace cooks are "still using pots and pan from the 1800s, with Queen Victoria's stamp on them."

Some vices

Queen Elizabeth does have at least one vice according to McGrady: "she's a chocoholic," the darker the better.

He shared the recipe for her favorite chocolate biscuit cake, a no-bake affair with buttery tea biscuits soaked in a custard and topped with rich frosting, in his 2007 book 'Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances From a Palace Kitchen.'

McGrady worked at the Palace for 11 years before Princess Diana asked him to work for her after her separation from Charles.He was there for her final four years and had just prepped the Kensington Palace kitchen for her return from Paris when he learned of her death on August 31, 1997.

He later moved to Dallas, where he now owns the Eating Royally catering firms and writes and lectures about royal eating habits.

He's always ready to correct what one might call "fake news" about the royal palate.

"The Royal family are not banned from eating shellfish. The Queen loves lobster," he tweeted recently in response to one article. "One of the Queen's favorite dishes is Eggs Drumkilbo, which contains lobster. Another nonsense story."