Waitrose executives “wined and dined” Delia Smith for over a year to persuade her to endorse the supermarket, commercial director Richard Hodgson has revealed.

Smith, who has never promoted a supermarket or food brand but was a consultant for Sainsbury’s in the 90s, will take part in TV, press and online ads with Heston Blumenthal in Waitrose’s first celebrity-fronted campaign.

Hodgson said Smith was “a normal person who wants people to know how to cook” and along with Blumenthal had been in talks with the retailer since last January.

“To get the two of them is fantastic,” he said. “Heston helps us raise the bar; Delia helps us become more accessible. Having either of them by themselves wouldn’t have been as good as the two of them together. The long-serving doyenne of cooking and the young upstart with radical ideas - you bring them together with Waitrose, Britain’s quality food supermarket, and it is very powerful.

“We want to shatter the image that Waitrose is for food snobs and posh people,” Hodgeson added.

The chefs will appear in a different ad each week, presented as a mini cookery show and sometimes lasting a full ad break.

Smith, 67, said Waitrose made her “an offer I couldn’t refuse” to “do precisely what I normally do, ie demonstrate accessible recipes on TV. Then there is the added bonus of being absolutely certain that those who follow the recipes will be able to find the ingredients”.

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