As a member of the royal family, she’s no stranger to a lavish banquet. But today it was the Duchess of Cornwall’s turn to be the chef as she joined Jamie Oliver in the kitchen for the second time in a month.
Camilla joined the English celebrity chef for the CEO CookOff, which saw business leaders team up with expert cooks to provide a banquet for people who spend their time working to help others.
Prince Charles’ 69-year-old wife looked the picture of elegance in a green dress with a pleated front and white cuffs and collars when she arrived to help cook a feast for 400 everyday heroes at Old Billingsgate in the City of London.
She covered up against London’s evening chill in a smart black capelet, which she discarded when she rolled her sleeves up.
Oliver gave Camilla a warm welcome, and she certainly looked at home in the kitchen as she helped to prepare a mozzarella salad with blood oranges, beetroot, leaves and watercress under his watchful eye.
Oliver told the Duchess to put the cheese at the heart of the salad. As she added leaves he encouraged her: “It’s looking good so far.”
He suggested Camilla use her hands and after she had added the last few elements he said, “She’s got the touch,” before applauding her efforts.
True to his anti-food waste philosophy, the diners were served a three-course meal from produce that typically goes to waste, bulked up with special items brought by the chefs.
Mains ranged from roasted rack of lamb to ravioli filled with wild mushrooms and ricotta cheese.
Camilla attended the event in her capacity as patron of UKHarvest, which is a food rescue operation that collects excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it to charities.
The Duchess was shown around the open kitchens surrounded by diners by Ronni Kahn, whose organisation OzHarvest is the inspiration for UKHarvest.
Kahn said her organisation had delivered 60 million meals over the past 13 years. “OzHarvest is magic, UKHarvest has the same magic – everything about our model is to make sure that good food does not go to waste.
“If there’s anything left over tonight it will be delivered to people within a couple of hours of this event ending.”
The event highlighted initiatives to reduce food waste and education programmes, with all proceeds going to UKHarvest and the Jamie Oliver Foundation.
Things went a lot more smoothly for Oliver and Camilla than the last time they teamed up in the kitchen, launching The Great Get Together in February.
Then the pair were joined by TV lifestyle presenter and foodie Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but Camilla had a mishap with a piping bag and dropped icing on Fearnley-Whittingstall’s tie, which he gamely licked off.
“If you don’t mind me saying, you’ve been squeezing it at both ends,” he said to Camilla, looking at the bag disapprovingly.
The Great Get Together, which will take place on June 17-18, has been put together by The Jo Cox Foundation and dozens of other community groups.
People are being invited to get together with friends, neighbours and strangers for street parties, picnics, barbecues and bake-off competitions.
The event is in memory of Jo Cox, the British MP who was murdered in the street at the height of the divisive Brexit referendum last year. Organisers say it could be the biggest event of its kind since the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012.