There was loads of must-see TV this week, what with Obama's inauguration speech (and, ahem, the Burnley Tottenham game). But the drama that most grabbed my attention was not the one about remaking America. It was the one about remaking Little Chef.

Kicking off Channel 4's Big Food Fight season, Big Chef Takes on Little Chef should more accurately have been called Big Cock Takes on Bigger Cock, so huge were the egos involved. But boy it made for some fantastic car-crash telly.

Charting über-chef Heston Blumenthal's attempts to drag Little Chef into the 21st century with a fresh menu, new décor and staff who could do more than microwave scrambled egg, it should have been a dream gig.

But Blumenthal hadn't counted on the Machiavellian tactics of Little Chef boss Ian Pegler. While repeatedly urging Blumenthal to indulge in 'blue sky thinking', Pegler was doing anything but. "The aromatics of the mint dissipated too quickly," he pronounced on tasting the pea and ham soup before accusing the man famous for his virtuoso culinary creations of not being blue sky enough.

Was Pegler in it for tasty PR rather than a tasty menu? The three-Michelin-star chef wasn't sure and faced a dilemma: give his nemesis wacky recipes that would be rejected or re-invent the Olympic breakfast and a few British classics to produce food so good Pegler would have no choice but to go with it . Fancy chilli con carne and fish pie it was.

At times it looked as though the team wouldn't be ready for Popham's reopening. Anne England (deemed the worst cook in the chain and therefore the best person to re-educate the team) walked out, Pegler revealed a new menu was about to be launched anyway (coincidentally featuring a number of items on Blumenthal's menu) and the team struggled to get their heads around the concepts of cooking and customer service.

But it all came good in the end, with Fay Maschler pronouncing it "the restaurant opening of the year". Pegler even promised a rollout if after three months the trial was a success. In the current economic climate that's a big 'if', of course, but fingers crossed.