Former royal chef reveals Queen's Christmas is a 'military operation'

The Queen is in charge of Christmas planning. Photo: Getty

The Queen's former personal chef has likened Christmas at Sandringham to a "military operation".

Darren McGrady, 57, recalls what the festive season in the Queen's Norfolk palace was like during his 15-year stint working for the royal family.

Speaking to Yahoo, Darren says Christmas took "months of planning".

"I remember the fruit and vegetable supplier: he would have six or 10 cases of pears and we would look them and chose the 12 we wanted. I thought, this is what it's all about, using the best ingredients.

"It wasn't just the food. The day before we went up to Sandringham we would pack all of the equipment into hampers and then the army would arrive and load them all into these big army trucks.

"It literally was a military operation."

Christmas Day itself had its own traditions. The men would come down to a big, hearty full English, McGrady remembers, while the women would have a breakfast tray in their rooms while getting ready.

"Some sliced fruit, maybe a boiled egg," Darren says.

She likes things a certain way. Photo: Getty

Lunch was a huge affair. "There was so much food at Sandringham for Christmas, including 12kg turkeys. They were so big you almost had to take the oven door off. Crispy, crunchy roast potatoes. Boar's head and foie gras, Christmas pudding and mince pies," he says.

It wasn't just the 18-20 people in the royal dining room Darren and his team were cooking for. "It was the 8 or 10 in the royal nursery, too," he says. "The 100 staff. Dressers, housemaids, footmen, chauffeurs."

"And we also had another menu: the royal corgis menu."

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