Prince Charles, Great Britain’s next monarch, is reportedly so fearful that someone may try to poison him that royal aides make sure that a secret agent from Britain’s internal security service MI5 spy on the prince’s chefs as they cook his meals — just to make sure they don’t add any unwelcome secret ingredients.
The behind-the-scenes info comes from a celebrity chef who cooked numerous meals for Prince Charles, and describes His Royal Highness as a “gentleman” who was always appreciative of his cooking.
Atul Kochar, the owner and chef at the high-end Benares restaurant in London’s swanky Mayfair district, was formerly employed as personal chef to Prince Charles. Kochar’s restaurant, which has received a coveted star rating from the prestigious Michelin Guide — and where a typical meal for one person runs anywhere from $55 to $140 — was hired to satiate the royal appetite for spicy Indian curries.
“Prince Charles has never complained, in fact he is a gentleman and always eats everything he is served and says thank you to you when you meet him, he was very gracious and complimented me,” Kochar said during an appearance Saturday on the BBC cooking program Weekend Kitchen.
Kochar, whose restaurant advertises “modern Indian cuisine with a contemporary British twist,” added that even when he turned up the heat on his signature spicy curry dishes, the Prince always professed to enjoy the meals, and offered compliments on Kochar’s cooking
But it wasn’t Prince Charles who made the job a tense one for the world-class chef.
“Actually when you are cooking there is a secret service person watching you at all times which is a really off-putting,” Kochar said on the show.
“It sounds like something out of medieval times when food tasters were employed to check for deadly substances before royalty could touch it,” a source close to Kochar elaborated to Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper, adding that the secret service surveillance put Kochar and other royal chefs under added “pressure,” in addition to the pressure of preparing food that will unfailingly please the royal palate.
But though Prince Charles anti-poisoning practices may sound “medieval,” in fact at least one other world leader still employs similar protocol. In July, it was revealed that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin not only employs a full time “food taster” to insure that his personal meals do not contain any poisons — but Putin also insists that a member if his security team, rather than a trained chef, do the actual cooking.
The revelations make clear that while Prince Charles and is staff may share some of Putin’s paranoia over poisoning, at least the Prince is enjoying a more delicious dining experience, compared to the Russian president.