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Heston Blumenthal reveals the challenge of revitalising Little Chef

28 November 2008 by

Heston Blumenthal, the three-Michelin starred chef, has lifted the lid on the difficulties he has faced in attempting to revitalise the Little Chef roadside chain.

Blumenthal, whose Fat Duck restaurant in Bray is one of only three British restaurants with three Michelin stars, is revamping the Little Chef in Popham, Hampshire for a three-part Channel 4 series, Big Chef, Little Chef, to be screened in January.

Speaking at a press launch of the new menu this week, Blumenthal said he would probably have never have started the project had he known what was involved.

"Everything was out of packets," he said. "I was probably quite snobbish when I started and I realised just how difficult it is. There comes a time when you have to use the ‘compromise' word."

The new menu features Little Chef favourites such as fish and chips and macaroni cheese, but with higher-quality ingredients.

The famous "Olympic Breakfast" for example, is served with toast rather than fried bread, while the pork sausages have 50% more meat and are sourced from Finnebrogue Venison Co. The vine-ripened tomatoes are brushed with thyme oil.

"This absolutely isn't Little Heston's," Blumenthal said. "I've tried to create a menu that could, if we train people properly, be rolled out to every Little Chef across the country."

Little Chef, which has around 180 outlets, went into administration in January 2007, but was rescued by private equity firm RCapital.

Michelin-winning chef Heston Blumenthal to revamp Little Chef >>

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For more news, analysis and comment on Heston Blumenthal >>

Bloomberg food critic Richard Vines reviews the Little Chef menu >>

By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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