Throughout my career, I have cooked for several Royals either during my time as a Chef in the Royal Navy or whilst working within ESS and it’s always been such an honour. In 2009, I had the privilege of catering for The Queen, as she attended one of our military bases in Scotland, to celebrate the inaugural Armed Forces Day.
The Queen was shown around the barracks, and there were displays put on, followed by a reception for 500 people and a VIP lunch in the Warrant Officers and Sergeants’ Mess.
The logistics were complicated and the event took meticulous planning, including months of preparation with tasting menus, sourcing of local ingredients and bringing together a team of Compass and military chefs, as well as a front of house team from surrounding Compass units.
At the canape and drinks reception we served several options including asparagus tips wrapped in pancetta on crostini and caramelised shallot and Cashel blue cheese shortbread. The starter for The Queen’s lunch was Scottish smoked salmon tian, topped with horseradish crème fraiche and served with pink grapefruit lemon oil. The main course of Dornock roast black faced lamb loin, with seasonal veg was followed by a really exceptional cheeseboard, including home-made savoury biscuits and Scottish oatcakes and some delicious locally sourced cheese. There was a true sense of occasion in the air and the excitement and pride amongst the chefs and front of house team to deliver this prestigious event was palpable.
The day was a great success and an experience I will always look back on with great fondness. A few years later, I did another event for The Queen and she selected a very similar menu from the options I provided, so I think she liked the food that we created for her!