Queen Elizabeth is hiring a new chef and the annual salary is less than you think

  • Buckingham Palace posted a job listing in December for a new catering chef.
  • The position is full-time and pays about $28,000 a year — and even less if you decide to live on-site.
  • The chef will prepare food for receptions, state dinners, and staff lunches at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is in search of a new "Demi Chef de Partie" at Buckingham Palace.

Also known as a line cook or station chef in restaurants in the US, the position requires working with a team of staff to prepare large meals at a fast pace, often for catered events.

According to the job listing, Buckingham Palace is offering a salary of about $28,000 a year, plus an employer pension contribution of 15%, daily meals, and 33 vacation days a year. 

That's about $5,000 more than the average salary of a line cook at a restaurant in the US — or $8,300 more than a fast food worker at McDonald's — but the listing says the annual pay will be adjusted if the chef decides to live on-site, though it's not clear by how much.

RELATED: Check out the most bizarre eating habits of the British royal family:

9 bizarre eating habits of the royal family
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9 bizarre eating habits of the royal family

Harry and William love fast food, especially McDonald's

The diet of a prince doesn't just revolve around lobster platters and foie gras (as most of us are inclined to believe). While Prince Harry and William are royal princes by stature, they are known to have more common palates. Former royal family personal chef Darren McGrady told Marie Claire, "I remember Princess [Diana] came into the kitchen one day and said, 'Cancel lunch for the boys I'm taking them out, we're going to McDonald's. And I said, 'Oh my God your royal highness, I can do that, I can do burgers.' And she said, 'No, it's the toy they want.' Yeah, the boys loved McDonald's, and going out to pizza, and having potato skins—sort of the American foods." We don't blame them. McDonald's fries are addictive. Here's the secret ingredient.


Philip once made the staff swap dinners with him

Although it may be a rule of thumb that fancier dinners call for smaller portions, Prince Philip certainly abides by a different rule book. McGrady shares, "[Prince Philip] came into the kitchen and said, 'What's for dinner tonight?' And I said, 'I have these little one-inch eyes of lamb meat for you, your Royal Highness.' He looked and said, 'What's that—what are they?' And I said, 'Oh, those are chops, Your Highness.' He wanted to know who they were for, and I said, 'staff.' And he said, 'Oh, can't we have those?' I ended up giving him these big meatier pieces, and the staff had the other pieces." (Also, did you know the royal family is banned from eating shellfish in public?)


Princess Diana was on a very strict diet, but nobody suspected her bulimia

While most of us now know about Princess Diana's bulimia, you'd be surprised to hear about the extent to her strictly enforced diet. McGrady reports that he used to make her fat-free versions of dishes, and she would "trick" fellow guests at the table into thinking she was eating the same thing. In addition, red meat was completely off limits, and every meal was curbed into healthy eating: "One day she said to me, 'Darren, I want you to take care of all the fats, and I'll take care of the carbs at the gym.' We changed everything, I threw out my Buckingham Palace recipe book and got into healthy eating," says McGrady. "When she was at Buckingham Palace, her bulimia was definitely a hidden thing. We didn't know about it. It wasn't until she confronted it, and everyone put two and two together, that she started really healthy eating...she liked dishes like stuffed bell peppers and stuffed eggplant—she loved fish." (In Princes Diana's self-told story about Prince Charles, it is revealed that her husband had a huge impact on her eating disorder).


Prince Philip was not into Charles' organic food

Apparently, green eating just isn't for everyone. According to McGrady, Prince Philip wasn't as keen on organic fare as Charles was. "We always used to get a hamper [full of food and treats] from Harrods—a thank you gift for shopping with them. Prince Philip came into the kitchen and there were two hampers. He said, 'Oh, is this a Harrods hamper?" I said, 'No, your highness, this is a hamper the Prince of Wales brought with him.' He looked puzzled so I opened it up and I said, 'It's all organic.' And he said, 'Oh, bloody organic!' And just shook his head and walked out."


The family would lie to the Queen Mother about dinner time

You know that trick you use to get your constantly late friend to be on time? It's used in the royal palaces, too. McGrady reveals that because of Queen Elizabeth's tendency to arrive late to every family dinner, the rest of the family would lie about the dinner schedule so that she would actually show up at a reasonable time. "Dinner was at 8:30 in Balmoral when Her Majesty the Queen Mother was in attendance. They used to tell her that dinner was at 8:15, and she'd be the last one down. They told everyone else 8:30 because they knew she'd be late," he notes.


The Queen ate out of Tupperware

Turns out that even the Queen understands the value of practicality. While Her Majesty does eat food off of diamond-encrusted or solid gold plates (totally standard), McGrady informs that "at Balmoral she'd eat fruit from a plastic yellow Tupperware container." And that's not all–she would also dabble in some classic Kellogg's for breakfast from a plastic container which she would serve herself. (As a true Brit, it would come with a cup of Darjeeling tea).


The Queen's favorite food is dark chocolate

If you're ever in need of a gift idea, take note from Queen Elizabeth: chocolate is always the way to go. "The Queen loves to eat any food from the estate—so game birds, pheasants, grouse, partridge—she loves those to be on the menu. But of course, she loves chocolate. That was her favorite, and it has to be dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the better."


Everyone must dress up for dinner

Although Balmoral (their Scottish holiday home) is where the royal family really lets their hair down, the typical dinner would normally entails Downtown Abbey levels of formal. "They'd come down in dressy ball gowns, and sit at the table—like a Downton Abbey dinner. All the fine china was brought out. At the end of the meal, a bagpipe player would walk around the table," McGrady says. Even so, nobody is perfect; McGrady also notes that Prince Philip was known to dress so tattily that he once mistook him for the gardener. (No matter how they're dressed, these are the 14 etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow.)




While the salary may seem low, what the position lacks in monetary compensation it will likely make up for in experience. 

The listing says an extensive background working as a chef "isn't essential," but qualified candidates will have spent time in a "premier kitchen or volume catering." The new chef will prepare food for receptions, state dinners, and staff lunches at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.

Ultimately, the Queen is looking for someone with strong communication skills, a passion for food, an eagerness to learn new skills, a clear ability to meet deadlines, and great attention to detail.

That's understandable, considering the Queen is famously particular about her food — no garlic, lots of dark chocolate, and very little red meat, according to an interview with a former Buckingham Palace chef in Town & Country Magazine. 

The public application for the Demi Chef de Partie closed on January 1, but Buckingham Palace is still looking to hire two palace assistants and a handful of seasonal workers for next summer.

With a personal fortune over $500 million, it's unlikely the Queen will ever skimp on staff.

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