You are now standing in the King’s Kitchen or Great Kitchen, the most technologically advanced kitchen of the period. It was mainly used for preparing meat dishes and sauces, and was one of five rooms dedicated to preparing food in George’s time.
George was an enthusiastic host, and this is reflected in the kitchen, which is large, light and unusually close to the Banqueting Room. In most palaces and great houses the kitchen would be further away, or even in a separate building. This was partly because of the danger of fire, and partly to keep the smell of cooking well away from guests. But. George was so proud of his kitchens that he regularly brought his guests to inspect them, and on one famous occasion even had dinner here, albeit on a red carpet laid over the bare flagstones. He even took an interest in the decoration; if you follow the four cast iron columns upwards, you will see that they’re disguised as palm trees. You’ll also notice that the ceiling is very high, to help the fierce heat of the kitchen escape.
The prince was a great lover of French culture and food, and employed many French chefs throughout his life, even following the French Revolution, when French workers were often the cause of suspicion among the aristocracy. George valued chefs so highly that he regularly poached them from other great houses, much to their employers’ dismay. In 1816 he hired the leading celebrity chef of the period, the renowned Antonin Carême. One of Carême’s famous menus, featuring no fewer than 100 dishes, is displayed in the kitchen – though guests weren’t expected to try every dish! Unfortunately for George, Carême became homesick, and within a year of arriving, had returned to France. By the way a copy of this menu is available to buy in the shop as you exit the Pavilion.