Blog: An unlikely pair at Waitrose

Michelle Russell | 3 March 2010

Waitrose this morning (3 March) announced what it described as “a dream alliance” set to be the “envy of the food retail world”.

Drum roll…

Celebrity chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal are set to become food ambassadors for the UK upmarket retailer.

Great news for Waitrose and no doubt a pricey signing, but for the consumer, it may send a rather mixed message.

As the undisputed queen of TV cookery, Delia Smith is a fair choice, no question. Her image has always been quite mumsy, a woman known for her straightforward, fail-safe recipes and her squeaky-clean persona.

Bring in scientific, experimental and off-the-wall chef Heston Blumenthal though and one wonders where Waitrose is going with this.

Owner of The Fat Duck, a three-star Michelin restaurant, there’s no doubt Blumenthal is an accomplished and extremely talented chef (I won’t mention the Little Chef) but, alongside Delia, it's a struggle to see who Waitrose is targeting.

The release says little about what we can expect from the duo, other than sharing their expertise, showcasing recipes and offering tips.

There’s no doubt that celebrity endorsement can work if matched with the right brand. Jamie Oliver is a testament to that with his work for Sainsbury’s.

But a chef such as Nigella Lawson would have been a more appropriate choice, the 'domestic goddess' known for her polished TV persona.

I could be wrong, but let’s see what they come up with.


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