Rendezvous with royal Chef - Carolyn Robb
There are chefs and then there are royal chefs. And today we are talking about the later.
Royal Chef: Just the title intrigues my imagination, to visualise a magician in regal outfit with a whisk. Creating delicately flavoured teacakes and beautifully decorated cupcakes with her magic whisk. Aah, can even smell the wonderful aroma of the lovely scenario. I'm sure this lovely lady is nothing short of being a magician. Having been the chef in the royal household for over thirteen years, she would be an idol to any aspiring chef.
I'm so thrilled to share my rendezvous with Chef Carolyn Robb, who has chronicled her lovely recipes in the amazing cookbook - The Royal Touch; Simply Stunning Home Cooking From A Royal Chef. The beautiful coffee table styled book, is like a collector's item for any recipe collector or cookbook lover. Carolyn’s cookbook has 100 recipes and a plethora of intimate stories and personal letters from her time living at Kensington Palace. I can't wait to get baking on this one.
But before that let me share this space with the lovely Carolyn, to know more about her culinary journey. (Also read till end for an exciting promo offer).
Q) Tell us something about your childhood. What are your fondest food memories as a child.
A) I was born and raised in South Africa and am the youngest of 5 children. I had a very happy and carefree childhood that was punctuated with wonderful home cooked meals! My mother was a fantastic cook and my fondest memory is of helping her in the kitchen at every opportunity.
Q) What ignited your passion for food. And made you think in this direction of being chef.
A) I was inspired by both of my parents and developed a love of food from a very young age. My mothers cooking was fantastic and she was also a brilliant teacher. My father was the 'greenest fingered' person you could hope to meet and grew wonderful fruit and vegetables in our garden. Always having so much fresh produce to hand meant ample opportunity to experiment and my mother never let anything go to waste so we often had to look for interesting recipes to make use of produce.
I loved being at cookery school and it gave me great confidence to go into any kitchen knowing that I had a great foundation in the cookery skills that I needed to cook a good meal. However, the end of cookery school meant the beginning of a long road of learning about food, one that I relished and I still love to learn new things at every opportunity!
A) Initially my parents were a big influence, then Prince Charles, from whom I learnt so much about organics, sustainability and traceability. Raymond Blanc (Of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons) is an incredible chef for whom I have huge respect and have been very privileged to work with him. Also the late Roger Verge of Le Moulins de Mougins, in Provence taught me a lot during the few weeks that i spent with him. I would love to work with Thomas Keller of 'the French Laundry' in the wine country in California.
Q) How do you describe your cooking/ baking style. And what are the favourite dishes to cook?
A) The very best of home cooking! I like my food to be lovely to look at and even better to eat - simple, tempting, delicious, seasonal and most of all food that people remember fondly! Baking is my favourite as you can be so creative and it is a great way to win over many a heart and bring a smile to everyone's lips! I love baking cakes, cookies, breads and desserts, especially when my 2 young daughters are around to join in and help with the preparations.
Q) How did you become a part of the royal kitchen? What was your role & experience like...any interesting incident/ experience you would like to share.
A) Whilst I was at cookery school I was invited to Kensington Palace for an interview - I got the job and the rest is history! Over the 13 years that I spent as a royal chef my role changed considerably. But my final role, as executive chef to HRH The Prince of Wales, was an amazingly varied role and was a fantastic experience. As well as cooking and running the kitchens, planning for overseas tours and a plethora of different events I was involved in product development for Duchy Originals, I learnt a lot about rare and ancient varieties of fruit and vegetables and I travelled to Italy and France to work with some of their very best chefs - from whom I learnt a huge amount
Q) What is the book all about? How was the experience of putting together this book?
A) The book is a collection of 100 of my favourite recipes and includes some anecdotes and special memories from my time as a royal chef as well as my travels and my childhood. It was really enjoyable compiling the book and doing the food styling for the photos and working in detail on the design, look and layout of the book. It was also more work than I could ever have imagined!
Q) Which is your favourite recipe or on one that everyone loves...from the book?
A) I don't have one single favourite - however, the recipes in the children's chapter are very special to me - I love to be creative in the kitchen, especially when it inspires children to enjoy their food and experiment with new flavours.
What strikes the most about this inspiring lady is her elegant simplicity which reflects in the charming narrative of the book too. For eg: " Chocolate Biscuit Cake – “When Prince William and Prince Harry were very young, I made my mother’s recipe of the Chocolate Biscuit Cake. It was a favorite in the royal nursery; so much so that, many years later, Prince William chose to have the cake at his Groom’s cake for The Royal Wedding! This very rich flowerless cake is perfect for any celebration.”
Exciting news for the readers - A special promotion is being offered to all the blog readers of Taste Melanger for this royal book. You can get 50% off the book!!
For doing so, visit the ACC website & enter the promo code RT50 upon purchase.
Thanks ACC Publicity for the great offer & images. Credit " The Royal Touch by Carolyn Robb, published by ACC Editions”.