Chef-In-Charge At The Royal Ascot
Steve Golding is the man behind the Royal Ascot kitchens. While the rest of the world converges at Ascot for 5-days of fun, frolic and races, it is Mr. Golding who oversees that the food served during the popular event is absolutely right without any kind of flaw whatsoever. However, that doesn’t excuse him from cooking himself, he does get to create and serve special dishes too, the ones which have earned him accolades for years.
He is not the one to take credit where it is not due though and humbly accepts the fact the Queen may not touch his food as she arrives after having her meal at the Windsor Palace. That does not deter him from serving the usual fare of scones, sandwiches, butter, cream, jam and pots of hot tea to the Royal Box. The other members of the queen’s entourage relish it wholeheartedly at the box.
Steve employed by Sodexo has a gargantuan task on his hands every Ascot. He caters to 274 private boxes which includes 40,000 meals. He also caters to the RAC or the racing Club, an exclusive establishment which screens all prospective members thoroughly before admitting them in its fold.
The myriad of visitors to the Ascot are a hard lot to please says Golding as unfazed as ever. It consists of dignitaries from all parts of the world which include the Royals and British elite apart from Hollywood celebs and Mid Eastern Sheiks. They are all used to the crème-la-crème and it would be hard to please by serving them with a humble salmon salad and mashed potatoes followed by the traditional dessert of strawberries and cream .
What's New This Year
With the popularity of food prepared from local produce spreading, Steve makes it his duty to scour for the best ingredients in the vicinity. So it is sea bass from Sussex and crabs from Cornwall while Berkshire gets to supply the fresh herbs all throughout the Ascot season. Being innovative is yet another factor that has its challenges, the chef-in-charge admits. It takes quite an effort to enliven the jaded palates of the rich and famous, the ones accustomed to Michelin starred kitchens. This year, Steve has decided to go for a ravioli with quail’s eggs and tomato tuiles that will be served with celery salt candyfloss. The dessert is likely to be strawberries and black peppers filled with candy truffles.
With 60 chefs working round the clock food is indeed a serious business at Ascot. In fact, it was also the focus of fashion at the Ladies Day when the ladies regaled us with spectacular head gear including one which depicted a fried British breakfast and a small, quaint tea kettle adorning the head of a fashionista.
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