As a mall of firsts, SM Aura Premier is not only a powerhouse of global fashion brands, but also brings to Manila exciting new food concepts, many of which are the first to come to town.
In The Royal Touch, which recently opened its first outlet in the Philippines at SM Aura Premier, Carolyn Robb takes from her incredible experience as a chef from royal household to create a premium lifestyle brand.
Here, mallgoers can enjoy traditional British afternoon tea and cupcakes in as they say, royal style. After all, Chef Carolyn made Prince William’s Groom’s Cake for his wedding, and one of the 27 cakes for Prince Charles and Princess Diana. And her story is as incredible as her scrumptious cupcakes.
Born and raised in South Africa, Chef Carolyn began cooking at a very young age with her mother, whom she describes as a wonderful cook. Before moving to the UK to undergo chef’s training at the Tante Marie School of Cookery in Surrey, she spent some memorable time in the Swiss Alps where she “worked in a beautiful hotel in the Alps and gained both culinary and linguistic experience.”
Chef Carolyn’s first job in a royal household was for the “wonderful family” of HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s first cousin, and his wife HRH Brigitte, the Duchess of Gloucester. Two years later, after preparing a dinner that THR Prince Charles and Princess Diana attended, she was offered a job with them.
“When I joined their household at Kensington Palace in London, Prince William was seven and Prince Harry was four,” she recounted. “I shared many wonderful experiences with the two young princes as they were growing up.”
She recalls that “they always loved to come into the kitchen and I often spent time cooking with them. When they were young, we cooked mostly sweet things—cakes, cookies, and desserts. As they got older, they enjoyed learning to prepare some of the traditional British dishes.
When they first went to boarding school at 8 years old, she used to pack up treats to take with them, but by the time they were at Eton College as teenagers, both of the princes enjoyed cooking for themselves using recipes from Chef Carolyn.
One of the princes’ favorite treats was Chocolate Biscuit Cake, which Prince William chose to have for his groom’s cake at his wedding. “It was wonderful for me that after so many years William chose his childhood’s teatime favorite treat to serve at his wedding,” she says. “The original recipe for this came from my mother, and over the years, I made changes to the recipe.
Chef Carolyn had many incredible opportunities and experiences during her 13 years in the royal household, including fundraisers for Prince Charles’s many charities in the beautiful surroundings of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle; and state visits to countries as diverse as Bhutan, Guyana, Swaziland, and Tobago.
During her 11 years of cooking for Prince Charles, she also had the incredible privilege of spending two to three weeks each year working alongside some of Europe’s greatest chefs in their respective restaurants.
“Prince Charles,” she says. “He is the first member of the immediate royal family to establish a commercial brand, his own range of organic food products. He did this as a way to raise income for some of his charitable foundations.’
In her latter years in the royal household, Chef Carolyn worked on developing new products for Prince Charles’ organic food brand, Duchy Originals, such as biscuits, jams, cakes, and sauces. She also worked for his many charities, managing events for them.
Several years after the tragic death of Princess Diana, when William was 18 and Harry, 15, she left the royal household in order to gain experience in the commercial sector.
In 2011, she established The Royal Touch together with an LA based partner. And now, mallgoers can enjoy a taste of her delicious recipes at The Royal Touch at SM Aura Premier.
With its elegant chandelier lit interiors, The Royal Touch resembles a tea salon where gourmet coffee and English tea is served in delicate bone china cups. The cupcakes—with names that indicate a touch of royalty—are to die for. The Queen of Citrus, Chocolate Majesty, and Lady Blueberry Cupcakes are among its bestsellers.
There are also cupcakes with fruit toppings—Chocolate Strawberry Marchioness, Knight of Strawberry Lemon Cupcake, Blueberry Highness Mini Cheesecake, and Orange Baroness; as well as those with nut toppings: Banana Dowager Muffin, Royal Green Tea, and Apple Duchess. Other flavored favorites include Coffee Countess, Carrot Prince Muffin and Count Chocolate Pudding cupcakes.
The Royal Touch is located at the Ground Level of SM Aura Premier.