The Little Chef

Something for the weekend #08

I imagine that some people will be disgusted by my choice of subjects this week but I have a sense of  nostalgia towards this very British institution, I’m not sure if it is because my Mum used to take me there as a child with coupons that, I think, she collected on toilet tissue packets – I could be wrong, it might have been tea. Or if it is because my first job was as a waitress at one of these restaurants, I was rubbish, I managed to serve beans on toast to somebody but forgot the toast.

Anyway, The Little Chef, a true British iconic company, established in 1958, the same year that Britain’s first motorway opened, if you find yourself in one of these eateries then it probably means that you are in between destinations, for me there is a feeling of holiday about them. They are usually found on A roads and you often pass old ones that now sell bargain furniture or used cars, how very sad. Each Little Chef has the same menu (except Heston’s) which offer a good range of food from all day breakfasts to fish and chips, burgers and jacket potatoes, eating here is more guilty pleasure than gourmet healthy food, so if you are on a diet I suggest that you keep driving.

Some of you might remember the recent channel 4 series involving Heston Blumenthal, owner of the well renowned restaurant Fat Duck restaurant in Oxfordshire, reworking the branch in Popham, Hampshire. Blumenthal modernised the cafe interior and reworked the menu focusing more on quality than quantity and offering food that would appeal to a more errrrrr, how can I put it, choosy palate. On visiting the restaurant I was impressed that the elements that make the Little Chef what it is were still present but was an American diner feel to the place, it felt fresh and clean and the chips were fantastic!

So I was passing with the family last week, the branch where I worked many many moons ago, belly rumbling, I say passing I think that we took a 10 mile detour, I happily munched my way through an early starter breakfast with a mini pot of coffee. I was overwhelmed with excitement to see that they now sell branded merchandise, I sucked on my free iconic lolly-pop and stared in awe at my new Little Chef badge and mug as I headed home towards Brighton with a contented smile on my face.

You can become a fan of The Little Chef by joining the flickr group and uploading images from your visits, check out their journey planner on the website to find out where they are located.

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