If you’re planning to visit Windsor Castle in the Summer months, it’s well worth booking in for the Great Kitchen Tour. This tour takes you into the working bowels of the castle, to explore the castle’s Great Kitchen and it really hammers home just how important a role, catering to the public plays in the bustling Royal Household. I chanced upon the tour a fortnight ago when entertaining visitors and as a food fanatic (and general nosy person), I jumped at the opportunity to get behind the scenes…

The Great Kitchen, led by the chief Royal Chef and Head of Kitchens at the Palace, Mark Flanagan, is huge. It’s bigger than the largest of our kitchens at bartlett mitchell, and marries the modern with centuries old technology. Water baths and the biggest dough turner I’ve ever seen are used alongside powerful Victorian gas hobs which Prince Albert, in all his modernising greatness, introduced;

  • Monarch-branded copper pots from former chefs line the lintels and ancient oak tables topped with stainless steel, sit comfortably underneath very modern hanging spot lights. 
  • The more modern tan and grey flooring tiles were specifically chosen for their non-slip, low reflective qualities; 
  • Two flus/furnaces sit comfortably at either end of the kitchen, decorated with vintage equipment which really highlights the fact the kitchen has been in almost constant use for 750 years! 

Now that is a kitchen David James, our Creative Director would be jealous of! As I’m sure the rest of our chefs would be too! Mark Flanagan heads a team of roughly 22, with 3 chefs and 10 KPs who together cater for a number of public facing events including banquets to entertain Heads of State, visiting Dignitaries and smaller, more personal affairs. Banquets can seat over 160 people, whist canapé receptions number more than that – so the kitchen and preparation space is vitally important. Apparently there wasn’t always an elevator to take the food to the Great Hall above, so the chefs of the day used to prepare 20 extra portions to factor in droppages / breakages and the like. Nowadays they still plan extra, but not quite so many!

Hannah Carmichael
Business and Development Coordinator

If you have any thoughts or comments please write them in the box below as we’d LOVE to hear from you.

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

More from Wendy Bartlett