A seat at a Heston Blumenthal restaurant may be hard to score, but upmarket British grocery chain Waitrose is making it easier for average consumers with shallow pockets to tuck into a dinner created by the Michelin-starred chef with the launch of a new line of pre-packaged meals.
Launched last week, the Dine In With Heston series includes five main course meals like fish pie, lasagna, chilli con carne, shepherd’s pie and macaroni and cheese, priced at a fraction of Blumenthal’s restaurant meals, at £4.89 (around $8).
It’s been a mutually beneficial collaboration for Blumenthal and the upscale supermarket chain, with the fine dining chef bringing his star power to the brand, and the grocery store providing the chef with mass market, commercial exposure. Blumenthal has also launched a range of Christmas puddings, mince pies, coriander and rose salt and salted caramel ice cream.
Most recently, he launched an Earl Grey and Lemon Gin distilled with juniper, almond, coriander, orris root, licorice, lavender and angelica.
Flavors from the Dine-In series, meanwhile, veer from the predictable with the addition of star anise to chilli and lasagna recipes to accentuate the meaty umami flavors, says the Waitrose pitch, while truffle-flavored oil is added to macaroni and cheese.
Blumenthal follows in the heels of other Michelin-starred chefs like Joel Robuchon and Wolfgang Puck who also have mass market products for the average consumer. Robuchon, for instance, teamed up with French prepared food brand Fleury Michon to create ready-to-eat meals like sautéed chicken with basil pasta, and chicken in a foie gras sauce with Armagnac and pasta with mushrooms.
Puck also developed a line of pizza, soups, stocks and Italian sauces under his own name.