World-renowned chef Jeff Schroeter has cooked for some of the most famous people on the planet, including the late Queen herself, and is lifting the lid on some of their favourite – and bizarre – orders.
Schroeter, who’s now the co-founder and executive chef at Beckett’s restaurant in Sydney, has previously worked in kitchens at exclusive locations such as The Savoy Hotel in London and the Royalton New York.
Speaking to the news.com.au podcast I’ve Got News For You, the chef described the strange menu alteration longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour would make whenever she came through his restaurant.
“She used to dine at least once or twice a week [at the restaurant] and had a special table … but she’ll go through different phases [of eating],” he said.
“And during one phase, we had a beautiful tuna niçoise – everyone ate it. But she didn’t like fresh tuna, so she used to bring her own canned tuna and hand it to the waiter, who handed it to the busboy, and [he’d] bring it down to the kitchen.
“So I’d make this beautiful niçoise salad, and then open a tin of tuna and just put it on top. And she loved it.
Schroeter went on to share details about the time fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld rocked up to his restaurant with an entourage of “about 10 to 12 people” late at night after a runway show and asked for “an American hotdog with fries”.
“The rest of the table – all fully suited, beautiful suits, – they all went, ‘Yep, I’ll have one too.’ So that order comes down on the kitchen and we go, ‘We don’t have any of that!’”
After a desperate scramble, Schroeter said, they came up with a solution: To run out to the local street vendor and quickly pick up a dozen hot dogs before it shut at midnight.
However, the kitchen staff then realised they were missing a crucial part of the dish – the fries.
“So we sent the other busboy to McDonald’s to buy the fries and come back,” Schroeter said.
“We put it on plates, sent it out, and [Lagerfeld] said it was the best meal [he’d had] for a long time.”
Schroeter told IGNFY host Andrew Bucklow he was also hired as one of four chefs to cater Madonna’s 37th birthday at the Delano Hotel in Miami.
“She booked out the place for her birthday, security all around, and she flew in four chefs from around the country … and she picked each one for a particular dish that she loves to eat,” he said.
“And I was flown down for the one that I call ‘Madonna salmon’. It’s a particular type of salmon and we cut it as a butterfly, and we put it with crushed cucumber, dates, walnuts, shaved fennel, lemon juice, olive oil and sweet basil – then the whole dish just lightens the salmon.
“It’s healthy, it’s good for you … It was brilliant, three days down there and all I had to do was one dish. It was the best function I’ve had.”
Despite their proximity, Schroeter only “briefly” met the Material Girl – but described her as a “lovely, lovely woman”.
“Especially when she knows you’re cooking her favourite dish,” he joked.
But perhaps the most well-known diner Schroeter has ever cooked for was the late Queen Elizabeth, who would pop into London’s Savoy hotel for her favourite dish – the peach Melba.
While the “50 to 80” chefs in the kitchen at the luxury hotel could always tell a royal was about to roll in – “They’ve got heavily armed security guards coming through the kitchens with Alsatians” – it was the dessert order that gave the Queen’s visits away.
“[The royals] always dine in one of the seven private banquet rooms, but we’d know it was the Queen because she always loved the peach Melba – so we knew when there was seven to 10 peach Melbas going to a private room, the Queen must be in the house,” Schroeter said.
If you’re keen to try some of the dishes that the chef used to create for celebrities and royals, he’s holding an event on March 30 at Beckett’s called, ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’.
It will be co-hosted by Ed Halmagyi and will feature many of the dishes featured in the I’ve Got News For You interview, including Madonna’s favourite salmon and the peach Melba that was loved by the Queen.
Details can be found here.
Originally published at www.news.com.au