Italian chef Gino D’Acampo turned down an invitation to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II due to the presence of a particular food on the menu: cucumber sandwiches.

The celebrity chef, who has hosted several UK food shows and runs multiple restaurants, was invited to Buckingham Palace prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but turned down the offer because he wasn’t “keen” on the menu of food and drinks being served.

“I’m not very keen on tea or cucumber sandwiches,” he told the Daily Mail.

“I was invited to the palace for tea just before Covid, but a cucumber sandwich is my worst nightmare.

“I don’t like tea either, so I phoned my agent and said: ‘I’d love to meet her, but I don’t like tea and cucumber sandwiches, and I can’t do either of those things.”

Having to wear a tie and dressing fancily was another deterrent for D’Acampo, who claimed the last time he wore one was at his wedding, when he married his teenage sweetheart, Jessica Stellina Morrison, in 2002.

“I’m also going to have to wear a tie, and the last time I did that was when I got married. I can’t do that. But if I can have a plate of pasta and a cup of coffee, I’m in,” he added.

Though cucumber sandwiches might be his “worst nightmare”, his eponymous restaurant in Newcastle recently featured an Italian twist on the classic sandwich, replacing cucumbers with truffle cream cheese.

Image: @iamginodacampo (Instagram)

This article first appeared on OverSixty.