Waitrose to end 12-year partnership with TV chef Heston Blumenthal

Waitrose is set to axe its popular “Heston from Waitrose” product range, after a 12-year partnership with the celebrity chef.

Customers will see products from the luxury range disappear from the shelves in coming months, as the retailer plans to take its “product development in a new direction”.

However, Waitrose will release one last product from the Heston range this Easter before phasing it out. The Chocolate Dabbit is a chocolate version of a popular optical illusion that resembles either a duck or a rabbit depending on which way it is viewed.

In a statement to The Daily Mail, Natalie Mitchell, director of Waitrose own brand, said: “We’re looking forward to the next chapter and unveiling some really exciting plans in the months to come.

“We would like to thank Heston Blumenthal and his team for what has been a tremendously creative partnership and wish them all the best in the future.”

A spokesperson for The Fat Duck Group, which oversees the operations of Blumenthal’s restaurants, said: “We want to thank Waitrose for the partnership.

“Heston and his teams continuously strive to create, and this year sees the arrival of a new sensory experience at The Fat Duck as well as the opening of an innovative new bar concept and Dinner by Heston at Atlantis the Royal, Dubai.”

According to the publication, the partnership is coming to a close as Waitrose bosses seek to develop the retailer’s own brand premium range and tire of the TV chef’s “unpredictability”.

The bewspaper quoted an insider as saying: “The hope was that the contract would end and nobody would really notice until later in the year when the dust has settled and things aren’t so raw.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“In reality, the relationship has run its course. It has been a huge success, but sometimes you have to call it a day. He was unpredictable and – to keep the relationship analogy – too distant.”

Blumenthal, whose restaurants The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston both have multiple Michelin stars, currently resides in France. He recently announced his engagement to Melanie Ceysson, a French businesswoman, after separating from ex-partner Stephanie Gouveia.

The Heston from Waitrose range included a hugely popular Christmas range that featured mince pies with unusual ingredients and flavours and a hidden orange Christmas pudding.

The partnership also saw Blumenthal starring in TV adverts to help boost sales for the retailer.

The Independent has contacted Waitrose for comment.