McDonald's Chicken McNuggets Have An Unexpected Connection To Queen Elizabeth II

Who doesn't like chicken nuggets? They're crispy, they're delicious, and they're kid-friendly. But perhaps the best part about chicken nuggets is that they taste great with a wide range of condiments, and they're widely available throughout the United States — be it grocery store freezers, restaurants, school kitchens, and of course, fast food restaurants like McDonald's.

Thrillist ranked McDonald's Chicken McNuggets fourth in a list of the 17 best fast food chicken nuggets in 2022. But these flavorful little bites weren't available when the fast food chain first opened its doors in 1955 (via McDonald's). According to History, "it's commonly accepted that agricultural scientist Robert C. Baker invented chicken nuggets in a laboratory at Cornell University in 1963."

Nearly 20 years later, they were added to McDonald's menu, thanks to a connection to Queen Elizabeth II, and no, it wasn't her idea. In fact, she wasn't directly involved at all, but someone who worked for her was. The addition came after McDonald's former CEO Ray Kroc expressed an interest in selling a "convenient alternative to red meat." 

The creator of Chicken McNuggets was a professional chef

So who was this person who worked for Queen Elizabeth II and helped bring McDonald's Chicken McNuggets into the world? Who do we have to thank for this tasty addition to fast food menus? His name is René Arend. Buffalo News claims he received his culinary training in France before cooking for Queen Elizabeth II.

Well aware of his stellar reputation in the kitchen and experience working as a chef for the former Queen of England, McDonald's hired him to make their first-ever chicken nuggets. But what he created — fried chicken breast in sauce — couldn't be mass-produced to accommodate all the franchises, as History explains. McDonald's had to combine his efforts with those of Keystone Foods and Gorton's, both of which specialized in frozen foods, to create a batter that "could be reproduced en masse." And the rest is history.

Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth II once owned a McDonald's in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, according to the New York Post. So it's safe to assume that she enjoyed a McNugget or two, knowing that the chef who once cooked for her helped make the first batch in the '80s. Thank you, Chef René Arend, for introducing us to one of the most iconic fast food creations.