Food

Coronation Quiche: What are the alternatives for 21st century Britain?

From Tom Kerridge to Jay Rayner, we asked some of Britain's most-loved chefs and foodies what dish they would have liked to mark the royal occasion.

The official coronation quiche at a Coronation Big Lunch hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster Abbey, in central London. Picture date: Tuesday April 18, 2023. Image: James Manning/PA Images/Alamy

King Charles has chosen a coronation quiche as the recommended recipe for his big day and, much like the hodge-podge ingredients going into this celebratory pie, reactions have been mixed.

Rather than the sprinkling of sweetness, colour and spice in Queen Elizabeth’s coronation chicken back in 1953, or the zesty zing of 2022’s Platinum Pudding for her 70th jubilee, Charles’s dish of choice is rather more garden variety.

Spinach and broad beans are the main ingredients, along with a dash of tarragon and cheese. The king apparently chose it as a personal favourite and because it could be shared, served hot or cold, and wouldn’t break the bank to bake.

Apart from missing the open goal of naming it “quiche la reign” (thank you, everyone on Twitter) the cognitive dissonance of possibly the most privileged man in the country giving money advice to the proles has not gone unnoticed.

Apparently Mary Berry and the BBC were not in on the secret, announcing that the 88-year-old Berry would be overseeing a competition on The One Show to find “the coronation dish”.

Competing for the culinary crown are:

  • Coronation Fried Chicken Sandwich from James Cochran, Great British Menu champion 2018
  • King Oyster Mushroom Filo Tart by Claire Lara, MasterChef: The Professionals champion 2010
  • Coronation Chicken Pie by Adam Handling, MasterChef: The Professionals finalist 2013 and Great British Menu champion 2023
  • Coronation Cauliflower Dome by Nikita Pathakji, MasterChef: The Professionals champion 2022
  • Celebratory Pork and Prawn Dumplings by Dan Lee, MasterChef: The Professionals champion 2021

“These chefs are simply inspiring,” Berry said. “What a treat I had tasting all these recipes – they are all delicious and achievable – I can’t wait to share them all with you.”

Voting opens on The One Show website on the evening of Wednesday April 19, but what are the alternatives? What dishes would better represent the breadth and depth of the British isles? We asked some chefs and expert foodies for their thoughts.

‘A massive rainbow cake’

“A quiche sounds like a parody of the whole thing really,” said Sally Butcher, cookbook author and head chef at south-London middle-eastern restaurant Persepolis. “There’s nothing wrong with a quiche but it’s very monotone, isn’t it? It’s stuck in the seventies.

“King Charles, love him or hate him, he does a lot of different things for lots of good charities, he has his finger in a lot of pies.

“I would certainly bake a cake, something unusual and healthy, and sweet, given we’re getting a day off.

“A massive rainbow cake, with lots of colourful healthy layers, sweet potatoes, walnuts, beetroot, representing all the things the monarchy should represent; being together, good health, encouraging interesting in activities. And a wink at pride too.” 

‘A roast dinner fit for a king’

For Henry Firth and Ian Theasby at BOSH! a roast dinner is the only thing that works.

“The Coronation Meal we would have loved to see is a ‘Roast Dinner fit for a King’ using seasonal plant-based and sustainable ingredients. The food element of the coronation will be so powerful as thousands of people and the future generations will be watching. Therefore it’s important that what is on the menu sends a good message, considering elements like: local produce, British and commonwealth focused, sustainable, environmentally friendly, delicious and healthy. 

“Our chosen roast menu would be; A delicious king oyster mushroom main with roasted maple carrots, spiced parsnips, cheesy leeks, golden roasted potatoes and no-waste gravy.”

Don’t forget to check out BOSH’s Christmas dinner for £20 which they whipped up for us here at the Big Issue.

‘An Earl Grey trifle’

Alex Head, CEO and founder of sustainable catering company, Social Pantry, which employs people with convictions, said they would “opt for something like an Earl Grey trifle – a fun twist that fits perfectly with Charles’ love of Earl Grey.”

“Cherries are also delicious this time of year, and trifles are such a quintessentially British dish.”

‘A gloriously rich dessert’

“I’m happy for the Coronation dish to be a quiche, it’s an often overlooked and underrated dish, delicious served warm or cold,” Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge told The Big Issue.

“I would have celebrated with ‘Coronation Swan’, just kidding…I would probably have chosen a sticky toffee pudding, a gloriously rich dessert that puts a smile on everyone’s face”.

Jay Rayner’s coronation wish

We asked Jay Rayner, the Guardian‘s chief food critic, what he would recommend based on his years touring the country sampling the best grub Britain has to offer.

“I do not care about the coronation,” he replied.

What do you think? Are you already greasing up the pans and picking the tarragon, or would you prefer a different dish? Get in touch and tell us more.

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