The Queen Loves Callaloo Soup

Thursday, October 04, 2018

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On Monday, October 1 HBO aired a new landmark documentary Queen of the World . Having been given “privileged access to The Queen, her family, her staff and her residences” the documentarians (Oxford Films, which also produced Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy ) allow viewers to peer into the life of 92-year-old monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The 63-minute documentary looks at The Queen's life and her transferring royal duties to the younger members of the Royal Family. These younger members — Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — continue to build relations within the Commonwealth. The documentary “tells the story of how the Commonwealth has been a central focus and passion throughout Her Majesty's life”.

This central focus led to the creation of The Caribbean Scholars initiative that allowed eight rising hospitality stars from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines to take part in a six-week programme. The Royal Household Caribbean Hospitality Scholarship “tests the scholars' ability to quickly use their individual problem-solving techniques with real-time scenarios that take place in the Royal Household daily to improve upon their efficiency while building positive relationships”.

Queen of the World has however revealed something quite surprising. Queen Elizabeth II loves callaloo soup! “The callaloo soup was an absolute sensation,” said Royal Chef Mark Flanagan. “I had email after e-mail telling me that it must now feature more regularly.” Thursday Food is still hunting for the recipe but from what we gleaned, The Queen's new favourite soup comprises callaloo, thyme, allspice, garlic, coconut milk and pork.

Bahamian Jared Forbes, food service manager, Government House (the residence of the governor general of the Bahamas), worked in the royal kitchen and it was his suggestion to serve The Queen Caribbean dishes each day. “It's a change, I guess, from what they're used to — from fish and chips,” Forbes observed humorously.

This opportunity within the Master of the Household's Department in the Queen's Residences at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, allowed stewards, waiters and housekeepers to refine etiquette, hosting and entertaining skills. Think of Carson from Downton Abbey using a ruler to equally space chairs and plates. Fun fact: the ruler thing is real! Jamaican Rusheda Brown worked in housekeeping and hopes that the scholarship will help in realising her aspirations of becoming a hotel manager. Forbes, however, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work under Chef Flanagan in the royal kitchen, helping to prepare meals for The Queen and her guests. And, we reckon, expanding her palate.

Queen of the World repeats this evening (Thursday, October 4) at 11:00 pm and Saturday, October 6 at 2:40 pm on HBO.

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