Heston off the Little Chef Menu

Little Chef

Heston Blumenthal may have earned three Michelin stars at The Fat Duck. His restaurant may have been voted the best in the UK, and twice-voted the second best in the world, but apparently he's not good enough for motorway service station diners.

The dishes he put on the Little Chef menu back in 2009 have just been dropped by the chain.



The dishes were the result of a collaboration between the celebrity chef and the service station stalwart for a three-part TV show in 2009. His aim was to dramatically overhaul the chain, starting with one restaurant in Popham, Hampshire - bringing his vision and standards to a chain known for large portions of fried food.

The programme was a huge success, and the transformation of Popham was hailed a victory, earning a place in the Good Food Guide. However, the collaboration was fraught with difficulties from the beginning.

Anyone who saw the series couldn't help but squirm at the clash of cultures. After the programme aired, Blumenthal was asked by the investment company behind the chain to work on a roll-out of the concepts he had introduced at Popham. However, his advisory role did not last long.

His spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: "Unfortunately, the level of investment required in terms of training, rebranding and menu development to deliver consistency and quality in line with the Popham concept were not forthcoming. Without this, he stopped his advisory role after a brief period."


It was only really a matter of time before the dishes - including braised ox cheeks and strawberry, yoghurt and granola - left the menu. The replacements will include gammon and egg, french toast, and a BBQ chicken dish which comes with bacon, melted cheese and fries.

However, the way in which it has been announced seems to demonstrate little professional courtesy. Little Chef spokesman Richard Hillgrove was not complimentary about the original concept, telling the Daily Mail: "Heston originally approached us to do his Channel 4 show about how he was going to save Little Chef. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But he took everything away from its core."

He was keen to remind us that Heston redesigned the restaurant and introduced talking toilets - which recited poetry when they were used. It's not the kind of thing that would surprise fans of the internationally-acclaimed chef, but seemed a shock to the chain.

Hillgrove added: "The problem is that no one wants his food. None of his dishes are popular. As of Monday, we've dropped all his dishes from the ten restaurants where his food was available. That's all gone as of this week. He's been wiped off the menu. Little Chef needs to get back down to earth and that's what we're doing."

Unlikely relationships

It was always going to be an unusual business choice for Blumenthal and for Little Chef. However, there are plenty of celebrities with unusual business relationships that are hugely successful. Here are five of the most unexpected...

Celebrities with unusual business interests
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Heston off the Little Chef Menu

Elizabeth Hurley owns her own 400-acre organic farm in Gloucester, and among her products is as a range of organic snack foods that she sells through Harrods.

Kevin Costner owns a firm called Blue Planet Solutions, which develops technology to clean up oil spills in the ocean. It was involved in helping clean up the catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Clint Eastwood has his own golf course, the Tehama Gold Club in Carmel. Membership is private and by invitation only.

Paul Newman founded his food company is 1982, which is best known for its salad dressing. The company donates all its profits to charity, which to date is more than $300 million.

Raquel Welch has surprised many people with her decision to launch her own line of Wigs, called Hair U Wear.


Top 10 expensive celebrity mistakes
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Heston off the Little Chef Menu

The N-Dubz singer was allegedly caught fixing up a drug deal between an undercover Sun reporter and her dealer friend and part-time rapper Mike GLC.

The illegal activity is likely to cost Tulisa dearly as she has cashed in on her youth appeal through the story of her troubled background and claims to have shunned drugs to grow her music career.

The modern day sporting hero and winner of seven consecutive Tour de France competitions saw his reputation plummet last year when he was found guilty of doping and cheating his way through is career.

Armstrong was stripped of all his titles, ordered to return his prize money, and sponsors couldn't drop him quick enough. He is also being sued by teammates. It is estimated that it will cost him $125m.

After possibly one of biggest public meltdowns in history, the actor lost it with the creator of his TV series Two and a Half Men. His outburst together with outlandish behavior including alleged drug benders, porn stars and drink problems, lead to Sheen being fired from the show. He reportedly earned $1.25m per episode, meaning he lost $36m for the whole season.

At the height of her short career, teen star Lohan was commanding around $7.5m per movie at four movies per year. Yet the pressures of fame at a young age got to The Parent Trap and Mean Girls star, seeing her life spiral out of control as she became embroiled in allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, jewellery theft, and drunk driving. Her earnings quickly plummeted and remain he doldrums.

Singer Chris Brown's reputation became muddied in 2009 amid allegations of assault against his then girlfriend, pop diva Rhianna.

The alleged offense took place the night before both stars were set to perform at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Brown's arrest on felony charges and the brutal images of Rhianna's battered face, led to an huge media frenzy. Overnight, Brown went from whiter-than-white Wrigley's gum and milk spokesperson to the most loathed man in music.

Fashions favourite supermodel could do no wrong until she appeared in the Daily Mirror in 2005 snorting "line after line" of cocaine at a recording studio with then-boyfriend and known drug addict, Pete Doherty.

Dubbed 'Cocaine Kate' by the press, Chanel promptly dropped Moss from their advertising, as did fashion house Burberry and Swedish brand H&M. But Moss managed to recover quickly from the scandal and is now the face of Rimmel, Dior and Mango.

Infidelity cost the golf star more than his marriage and a staggering $100 million divorce settlement – shaving brand Gillette was one of many brands to pull its endorsements following the incident in 2009. Woods also lost deals with Gatorade, AT&T and Accenture following the scandal.

Photos of the Olympic swimmer smoking a marijuana pipe saw Kellogg's pull its sponsorship of the sports star to protect their brand images. Phelps also received a suspension from competition and USA Swimming pulled financial support for three months.

Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho was axed from his Coca-Cola sponsorship deal after appearing with a can of Pepsi during a press conference at Atletico Minerio. The mistake cost the star £1 million in unpaid earnings as his £500,000 per-year contract was set to run until 2014.

While serving as president, Bill Clinton became embroiled in an embarrassing high profile scandal that looked set to cost him his career. The former president was accused of having sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky and harassment charges against Paula Jones.

Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges and made a public apology, which only served to strengthen his reputation. He went on to serve two presidency terms and left the office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II.


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