A royal meal: must serve beer
PREPARING a feast fit for royalty might be a daunting task for some, but Aras an Uachtarain's head chef Rosaleen McBride has decades of experience to draw on.
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, made their historic visit to Ireland in 2011 their menu requests were very modest.
According to Ms McBride, the Queen asked only that no shellfish be served on her stay.
"The only dietary requirement was no shellfish," she revealed at a meeting of the world's top chefs in London.
The Duke of Edinburgh had a plea of his own: he didn't want to be served wine during the lunch and preferred beer. Happy to oblige, the staff at Aras an Uachtarain bought some lagers in for their royal visitor.
The talented chef has been rustling up tasty dishes for presidents since Patrick Hillary called the presidential house in the Phoenix Park his home.
To prepare for the royal visit, Ms McBride liaised with her counterpart in Buckingham Palace.
Mark Flanagan is the head of the kitchens in the London palace and oversees 20 staff, who produce the royal fare.
He was happy to pass on his insider knowledge to the Irish chef, but he refused to disclose whether the Queen was allergic to shellfish or just playing it safe by avoiding them.
"Probably it's a precaution because of the dangers around shellfish," noted Rosaleen McBride.
President Mary McAleese greeted the royal pair at the presidential home when they made the historic trip to Dublin.