No price has been named in the acquisition of the guide, which joins Waitrose Weekend, Waitrose Kitchen and Waitrose TV in the chain’s list of epicurean communication channels.
‘We aim to be the go to shop for food lovers, and becoming the publisher of this well-loved guide will continue to develop our brand as an authority on good food,’ said Rupert Thomas, marketing director of Waitrose.
Questions of neutrality have arisen due to Heston Blumenthal’s involvement with the supermarket and the regular appearance of his restaurant, The Fat Duck, in the guide. But Waitrose has shot down any suggestions of bias faster than you can say ‘snail porridge’.
‘The reputation of The Good Food Guide depends on its independence,’ said a spokesperson for the company.
‘We intend to work with the same knowledgeable inspectors who have helped earn the Guide its respect and they will be assessing every restaurant to their exacting standards. None of the chefs with whom we work will get any special treatment.’
This promise will be welcomed by the fans of the 63-year old publication, as it has always prided itself on its neutrality. The guide’s founder, Raymond Postgate, famously declared of its impartial reviewers: ‘You can corrupt one man. You can’t bribe an army.’
Fans of Waitrose’s publications will no doubt be waiting with bated breath to see if Pippa Middleton becomes a guest columnist in the guide. The controversial inclusion of K-Mid’s sister in Waitrose’s magazine sent sales soaring, yar.