Antony Worrall Thompson is making his first major push into mainstream grocery with three ready meals, set to be followed by soups later this year.
The dishes form a key part of the chef's plans to develop his £60m brand, which already features 100 products, including barbecue hardware, sauces and crispbreads. The new collaboration with 2 Sisters Food Group is the chef's first launch of complete meals.
Worrall Thompson worked with 2 Sisters' development chef for a year to come up with a selection of recipes. Of the eight that were trialled, three are rolling out into Morrisons, with more in the pipeline. Another major listing is expected to be announced next month. The chef has also been working with the company to develop soups and gravy products.
"Ready meals don't have to be the unhealthy option," said Worrall Thompson. "My aim in creating these meals is to provide flavoursome, nutritionally balanced and satisfying dishes that won't leave you feeling guilty."
The 450g oven meals include chicken & chorizo paella, creamy chicken casserole and Irish-style country stew (rsp £3.49).
Worrall Thompson joins a long line of celebrity chef's who have launched food ranges recently. Simon Rimmer from TV's Breaking into Tesco has launched vegetarian lines with Cauldron; Saturday Kitchen chef Silvena Rowe has developed a range with Waitrose; while Jean-Christophe Novelli's frozen range for Findus is now worth more than £2m. Jamie Oliver is also relaunching his brand with a 40-strong line-up of products, aiming to clock up sales of £16m in two years.
n Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson has approached Asda with a view to developing a healthy ready meal range. It follows her appearance on a TV programme this month when she gave dieting advice to a junk-food-loving family in Hull.
A source close to negotiations said she was keen to work with Asda. "She wants to show healthy food can be affordable to all," he said.