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Angela Wood, chef who worked for British Royalty, she proudly recalls the menu served at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. This 2022 is a very special year for the Monarch, she will celebrate the Platinum Jubilee for 70 years with the Crown of Great Britain. They are already preparing big events and of course dishes.
70 years ago they served poached chicken in a creamy curry sauce. It became a classic British dish added to cookbooks as part of British culinary culture. Angela is very proud because she helped shape it.
“It’s just mayonnaise with a little curry added”jokes the 89-year-old chef. It is said that it should be a bit spicy but not too spicy, served cold, prepared in advance and use ingredients that can be easily found in the UK as imports were limited at the time and not even the Royal Family could do anything about it.
Angela remembers that two or three times a week for about a month they cooked too many chickens with ingredients to experiment with.
They finally came up with the ideal, perfectly balanced recipe published in an edition of the Constance Spry Cookery Book, a renowned English cookery book. The chicken has an onion reduction sauce, curry spices, tomato puree, red wine and lemon juice, it is boiled accompanied by aromatic herbs added to the mayonnaise and a whipped cream with apricot puree.
It reveals that it is a very strange mixture that at the beginning of the elaboration is horrible and strong “it’s hard to think it went well”, Serie. Many times she reveals that they have asked her why she didn’t use mango, to which he replies that back then she didn’t have those ingredients or Greek yogurt “and those things that they put in it now.”
At that time the delicious and historic dish was called “Queen Elizabeth’s Chicken” with a unique and very special preparation for 350 dignitaries that accompanied the then new Monarch. They complemented it with a rice salad with peas and herbs followed by a tarragon tomato soup and a river trout followed by a galette with strawberries.
He was 19 at the time and studying at Winkfield’s renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school. One of her tasks and her account, one of the most important in her career, was to refine the recipe devised by director Constance Spry for the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth. She had to organize the food for foreign dignitaries.