Here at Fuzzable we love food. Be it eating it or cooking it. We like baking ( the more chocolate used the better). So we really enjoyed chatting to ex-Royal Chef Carolyn Robb about her the time working for the Royal Family and her love of baking.
1) How old were you when you decided you liked cooking and wanted to make it a career and how did it take you to cook for royalty?
I loved cooking from a very young age, my earliest childhood memories are of baking with my Mother. from the age of about 12, I knew that I wanted to cook professionally. during my time at cookery school, I was invited to go to Kensington Palace for an interview and I began my first job as a Royal chef at 21.
2) Do you remember the first dish you ever cooked, and if so what was it?
The first ‘dish’ (aside from cakes and cookies) that I cooked on my own was when I was 5 years old and I made bacon and eggs for my 3 big brothers – I don’t think the eggs looked very good! but I regularly made flapjacks, cookies and cakes with my mother.
3)What was it about the Royal Family that made you want to work for them?
My mother was a great royalist and although I grew up in south Africa I knew a lot about the royal family and always had a fascination for them. the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, which we were allowed to watch on television at school when I was a teenager sealed my ambition to cook for them one day!
4) How did it feel to be not only the first female but youngest personal chef to Prince Charles, William and Harry?
It was incredibly exciting, a massive privilege and I loved every minute of my time with the family.
5) How old were the princes when you started working for the family and did they ever try help make things in the kitchen?
Prince William was 7 and Prince Harry was 4. as young boys they loved to come into the kitchen and bake things
6) How did you feel when Prince William used a cake you’d made for him as part of his wedding cake?
It was a lovely surprise and I felt very thrilled that he chose to have something that he’d enjoyed so much as a child.
7) What was it like living and working at Kensington Palace?
The family’s apartment at Kensington Palace had a wonderful feel to it. it was very homely and was very much a family home. I had a really lovely apartment there as well, you couldn’t ask for a nicer place to live and work.
8) What did you learn/take away from your time working at the palace with the royal family?
I came away with a wealth of fantastic memories and incredible experiences at the end of my 13 years as a royal chef. from Prince Charles I learnt a lot about organics, sustainability, traceability and cooking with the seasons; at that time none of these things was as commonplace as they are today. I also learnt that even when you need to cook a formal meal or entertain high profile, important guests, you can still serve simple, uncomplicated food.
9)What advice would you give to young people who like to cook and want to follow in your footsteps?
Cooking is a fantastic career with such a diverse range of opportunities.
It will entail long hours, it is quite physical work to be successful you need to work hard, so it’s essential to be really passionate about what you are doing, but also to love eating good food!
10) What are your favourite dish/dishes to cook?
Baking is my great passion. there is nothing to beat a great chocolate cake and mint chocolate cake is my favourite. another one that I love is the combination of salted caramel and macadamia nuts in a wonderful buttery cake.
- Royal Chocolate Biscuit Cake – I enjoyed making this cake as a child so when I started cooking for a very young Prince William and Prince Harry I wanted to make it for them. It became a great favourite in the royal nursery – so much so that when Prince William got married he chose to have chocolate biscuit cake for his groom’s cake. This unique cake is created from apricots, figs, pistachios and English biscuits enrobed in a rich and luxurious combination of our premium chocolate with butter and honey. The cake is covered in a generous a layer of dark chocolate ganache and topped with milk chocolate malt balls and white chocolate curls and is drizzled with white ganache.
- Rocky Road Squares – These make a very elegant tea time treat, but are also great to nibble on between times, or keep in your office desk drawer for those times when you need a boost. This bite-sized dark and white chocolate nuggets of indulgent Rocky Road include dried apricots and cranberries, pistachios, and mini marshmallows atop a traditional English biscuit crust. They are irresistible whenever they are served.
- Chocolate Pear and Pistachio Slice – Pears bring back wonderfully happy memories of my time as a royal chef. Poached pears were a great favourite. There were many growing in the garden which I bottled to ensure that we had a year-round supply. This slice is the perfect combination of rich chocolate pastry, creamy pistachio frangipane, and carefully poached pears. Dark chocolate with pears and pistachios is a combination fit for a king. The rich, dark chocolate shortbread base is topped with pears and enveloped in a delicately flavoured, beautiful green pistachio frangipane. Serve cold or gently warmed either as a dessert or as a special treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
- Macadamia and Salted Caramel Cake – this very delicious cake reminds me of my childhood in South Africa when I was able to pick macadamias off the tree at the bottom of the garden! This treat is based on the classic (and rather regal) British ‘Victoria Sandwich Cake’, with the addition of golden brown sugar and toasted macadamia nuts to add wonderful caramel overtones and a beautifully creamy texture. Filled with light vanilla buttercream and decorated with a salted caramel glaze and caramelized macadamia nuts—this cake looks every bit as gorgeous as it tastes. Perfect for a celebration, an indulgent dessert, or just as a well-deserved treat with a mug of coffee.
- Mint Chocolate Cake – This Chocolate cake is the king of all cakes and with an injection of fragrant mint, it is elevated even further. I love the fresh ‘English’ taste that the mint brings, This cake is the perfect option for birthdays and celebrations, but even if you have nothing to celebrate it is still a must! Mint chocolate, a timelessly classic flavour combination, this delightful dessert consists of layers of chocolate fudge cake and mint buttercream and is covered in a rich chocolate ganache. It’s all topped off with delicate dark chocolate wings for a regal presentation.
You can find out more about Carolyn and her cakes here.
Let us know at @Fuzzable what you like to bake and send us some photos of your creations as we would love to see them!