When Steph Hendriks and Liza Beattie were preparing 12 picnic boxes in the kitchen at Lazy River Estate on Wednesday morning, they had no idea they were about to feed royalty.
They had simply received a catering order, as they often do, and presumed it was for any of the council staff or security personnel located at the Dubbo Regional Council building, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met locals in Victoria Park down below.
It wasn’t until head chef Steph arrived at the conspicuously empty council car park – with a sniper rifle trained on her – that she began to suspect something.
And it wasn’t until the following morning, and a phone call from the Daily Liberal newspaper, that her suspicions were confirmed.
“I actually thought we could have been feeding the snipers that were up on the roof of the council, so it was a little bit fun I suppose, and exciting,” Steph told the Daily Liberal on Thursday.
- Read more: The five-year-old who captured the hearts of the world: Luke Vincent from Buninyong Primary School hugs Prince Harry and Meghan
- Family feels lucky to tell royals about relentless drought
- Duke and Duchess of Sussex reach out to Dubbo community, offer hope
- OR Get all your royal news in one place!
“I can honestly say it didn't even cross my mind when we were actually making the food … I didn't suspect that it was for Harry and Meghan.
“I suspected when I got to the council building to deliver it, because the security was insanely tight.
“I actually had a sniper on me and there was a guy relaying back and forth on the ground up to security who I was and what I was doing … I just stood really still and stayed near the van and didn't move so that's when I started to suspect.”
The pair prepared 12 lunch boxes for the royal couple who, alongside their Kensington Palace entourage, retreated to the council building to debrief, freshen up and grab a bite to eat after getting drenched at Victoria Park.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
- Wraps: the royal couple and their entourage ordered 12 lunchboxes with wraps – 6 chicken and salad and 6 vegetarian. The vegetarian wraps featured beans and salad: butter beans and home-grown mung beans.
- Side salad, including herbs from Lazy River Estate’s own herb garden
- Fruit salad
The order included six boxes with chicken and salad wraps and another six vegetarian boxes with wraps featuring butter beans, home-grown mung beans and salad.
Each box also included a side salad and a fruit salad.
“We honestly didn't think ... it would actually be them, because we thought maybe it would have been a bit more of a big deal but with the food, their order it was pretty simple,” Liza said.
“It wasn't elaborate food,” Steph added. “It was very humble.
“All of our produce is sourced locally. We do a lot of buying direct from farmers, if not we use local suppliers.
“We have a veggie patch and we have a huge big herb garden so the herbs are all grown on site. We sprouted the mung beans ourselves ... the spring onions in the salad are all home-grown.”
It's not the first time Steph has cooked for royalty.
About seven years ago, while still a TAFE student at Broken Hill, she cooked for Princess Mary of Denmark.
That event, a "huge" sit-down dinner at the Royal Flying Doctor Service base, was weeks in the planning.
Steph said she was glad to have been blissfully ignorant this week.
In fact, they almost didn't take the work as they prepared to host a GrainGrowers’ dinner on Wednesday.