Simple, healthy, and hearty recipes from Princess Diana’s former executive chef, Carolyn Robb. (Photo: The Royal Touch)
If you want to eat like a royal duchess or princess, from farm-raised produce to fresh pastries to sustainably hunted game, check out The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking From a Former Royal Chef. Contrary to popular belief, the British royal family doesn’t eat caviar and lobsters on gold platters. It’s fun image to hold in our minds, but South African-born Carolyn Robb, the youngest and first female private chef at Kensington Palace, where she spent 11 years cooking and baking for the British Royal Family, pulls back the curtain on the reality of royal eating in her cookbook. Robb shares recipes from her time at the Palace, all of which celebrate eating local and eating heartily. The food is healthy, but it’s definitely about enjoying food, not deprivation. “Princess Diana chose what the boys ate everyday, and even if we were just making chicken tenders, it was all cooked at home and very nutritious,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.
Carolyn Robb’s chocolate biscuit cake, which was a favorite of Prince William’s. (Photo: The Royal Touch)
Her famous chocolate biscuit cake — yes, a chocolate cake made of cookies — was so beloved that Prince William served it as his Groom’s cake at his wedding. “It was designed, made and gifted to Prince William by McVitie’s biscuit manufacturers and is said to have been made from 1700 biscuits and 17kg of chocolate!” she notes in the book. We’d almost consider it a beauty food since it’s made with dark chocolate, dried figs, and pistachios — erm, is butter a beauty food too?
Carolyn Robb’s cookbook, The Royal Touch. (Photo: The Royal Touch)
Robb isn’t just about the rich dishes, though. As a single working mother of two girls, ages two and six, Robb cooks to stay healthy and to keep up her stamina. Additionally, she’s also a triathlete, having traversed from London to Paris. Robb doesn’t believe in calorie counting or green juicing; she’s not about fads. She does believe in sourcing food locally and sustainably for the healthiest, most seasonal dishes. “Prince Charles was very keen of food miles and what’s in season,” she tells Yahoo Beauty about the environmentally conscious Prince. “Some of [the ingredients] were from the estate, and what wasn’t was definitely sourced locally.”
A thank you note to Carolyn Robb from Princess Diana. (Photo: The Royal Touch)
“Princess Diana was rather health-conscious,” she remembers. “But it wasn’t about counting calories in the household.” So, how does a royal princess stay healthy when traditional British cuisine is very steak-and-kidney-pie-heavy? Robb, who remembers a favorite dish being a simple pasta dish prepared with fresh tomatoes, offers the following advice for royal beauty fans: “I live by sourcing what’s grown locally. When things are in season, they’re much nicer. And keep things simple. When you have really great fresh produce, you don’t need to do a lot to it. And exercise. What you eat and how you exercise—it’s almost 50/50.”