The biggest compliment for this Essex County chef? An empty Royal plate

·2 min read
An article in the Windsor Star from Oct. 2, 1984, detailing chef Michel Crovisier's meal for Queen Elizabeth II. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
An article in the Windsor Star from Oct. 2, 1984, detailing chef Michel Crovisier's meal for Queen Elizabeth II. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

The Queen's plate came back empty. The chef who prepared lunch for her in Windsor in 1984 took that as the ultimate compliment.

"Usually what they tell you before is that she may or may not eat anything," said Michel Crovisier, the chef who prepared the meal for Queen Elizabeth II during her 1984 visit. So although he wasn't sure if she'd ever eat the lunch, he took pains to create just the right menu.

And then, she ate.

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

The Queen was visiting Windsor, Ont., for the second time. Despite whether or not the Queen would have eaten during her visit, Crovisier had to be prepared.

"At the beginning, they come and do a test to check," he said. "We had to prepare three menus."

The menu that was chosen featured Potatoes Berny, which are croquette potatoes, breaded with almonds shaped in the form of a pear. Crovisier said he included the dish because it was different.

"You don't want to do French fries," he said. "You have to come up with something a little bit out of the ordinary; a little fancier."

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

Another item on the menu was a "tomato basket" with Essex greens. Crovisier emptied a tomato and cut it in the shape of a basket before filling it with local vegetables.

The meal also featured cream of onion soup, roast beef tenderloin with mushrooms and pepper sauce as well as peach sorbet.

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

Despite the magnitude of the event and the compliment that he took the Queen's empty plate as, Crovisier does not talk about it much.

"I'm not one to brag," he said.

Like many Windsorites, he was saddened to hear of Queen Elizabeth's passing.

"I saw her up close," he said. "When somebody passes away, it's always sad."

"But she was special."