The first sign that Heston Blumenthal’s makeover of Little Chef had failed was in January last year when the roadside restaurant chain announced it was closing 61 of its 161 outlets and shedding 600 staff.
No doubt the sacrificed wage slaves were delighted to learn that the millionaire chef would remain on the payroll as a consultant despite the mass redundancies.
But now they’ll be even more pleased to learn that Blumenthal, 47, has been axed and all his dishes dropped from the ten eateries they were served in.
In a strongly-worded statement, Little Chef bosses said his dishes - such as braised ox cheek, and serving fish and chips with a small bottle containing essence of pickled onion so diners could replicate the “smell of the chippy” - were deeply unpopular with customers.
The TV chef approached the chain in 2007 and persuaded them to let him film a three-part documentary for Channel 4 called Big Chef, Little Chef, focusing on his efforts to revamp its restaurant on the A303 at Popham, Hampshire.
Little Chef allowed him to change its decor and even install urinals playing recordings of Spike Milligan reciting nonsense verse.
But Little Chef said the experiment had not worked - and Blumenthal had “taken everything away from its core”.
“The problem is that no one wants his food. None of his dishes are popular,” said a spokesman.
“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.”