At Wine & Food Week
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Houston’s Eighth Annual Wine & Food Week is bringing in royal chef Darren McGrady as this year's Wizard Gourmet.
“I have never been called a Wizard Gourmet before,” McGrady says, “and I can’t wait to be a part of this year's Wine & Food Week."
McGrady says he was "amazed" with how nice the people in Houston were, so when he decided to move from England he remembered Texas.
McGrady is known for the 15 years he spent as Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana's chef. But he now lives in Dallas, where he works as a personal chef, philanthropist, author, culinary consultant, event planner and public speaker.
McGrady tells CultureMap he traveled all over the world for his royal duties, but a stop in Texas stuck in his mind. He stopped in Houston in 1991 after sailing to Miami. McGrady says he was "amazed" with how nice the people in Houston were, so when he decided to move from England he remembered Texas.
And that's where he ended up (even if he didn't land in exactly the right city).
Now as Wizard Gourmet (in the right city), McGrady will be the star of Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting & Chef Showcase Saturday night, the biggest event of a festival that runs all week in The Woodlands. McGrady vows that Houstonians will get to dine like royalty and experience the favorite foods of Princess Diana and the queen at his showcase.
McGrady plans to serve Gaelic steak and his legendary bread and butter pudding.
“My Bread and Butter Pudding is Diana’s favorite,” McGrady says of the deceased princess, “and it is the one dessert I am asked to prepare for parties or events."
McGrady’s delicious chocolate cake, which was featured as the wedding cake for Prince William, will not be on the dessert menu Saturday, but that doesn't mean he will not tell stories about it. That's what he does, turning having been the royal chef into an ongoing adventure.
McGrady's first cookbook Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen is now in its sixth print (he donates all of its royalties to The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation).
The royal chef cites his proudest moment working for the queen as getting to sail to America on one of the royal ships. On that voyage, he preparing to cook for a president while Royal Navy sailors looked on and the Royal Band played England's national anthem in the background.
As for any nerves about cooking in front of a crowd again? Not likely. McGrady says he does not have one bit of nerves in him after his royal service and many appearances. He is more excited for Wine & Food Week than nervous.
For tickets and more information, check out the website for Wine & Food Week presented by H-E-B.