Birmingham entrepreneur Raj Rana enjoyed a royal day out when he was invited down to London to represent the catering and hospitality industry.
The Itihaas restaurateur was joined by a host of celebrity chefs and prominent hospitality businesspeople as he met the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Earl of Wessex and the Duke of Kent, earlier this month.
Mr Rana said the event was "overwhelming", adding: "It didn’t matter who they were, all those who were invited to the prestigious event were thrilled to have been there.
"It was a huge honour to have been invited to such an event and a huge compliment to Itihaas as a restaurant.
"The Queen asked what made my restaurant so special."
With inspiration derived from colonial India and historical references from the days of the Raj, explaining the theme of the restaurant to Her Majesty felt apt.
"Not only did I get to meet with the Queen and other members of the royal family, I had the privilege of meeting notable chefs and restaurateurs all in the same room. But what amazed me the most was the ease at which the royal party worked the room, exchanging conversations with the less known as well as those who she may have come across previously.
"My experience of the hospitality industry is a mere three years, having set up Itihaas in 2005, and in that time I have been extremely fortunate to have been recognised in this way."
The reception was held in recognition of the valuable contribution made by leading industry players to the UK’s hospitality world and the industry’s close links with the royal household.
Mr Rana, 31, was invited to the party for his part in the success of advancing the country’s £3.2 billion Indian restaurant industry.
Other celebrity guests included Sir Rocco Forte, Gordon Ramsay and Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beers.