James Ashton: Pippa Middleton job shows Waitrose chief's media ambitions

Much fun has been had at Waitrose’s expense for signing up star
  • @mrjamesashton

Much fun has been had at the expense of Waitrose for signing up Pippa Middleton as a food columnist in its cookery magazine. The editor, William Sitwell, was moved to defend the future queen's sister, bracketing her tips such as how to lay on an Asian-inspired Friday-night feast as up there with some of Yotam Ottolenghi's creations.

Meanwhile, Mark Price, Waitrose's jovial boss, is intent on having the last laugh while the press pack pick at Ms Middleton's meals. She hasn't been signed to replace Delia Smith, as was reported. That job has gone to Alan Titchmarsh, who is on board to plug Waitrose's push into gardening equipment.

Instead, Ms Middleton's star quality says more about Mr Price's media ambitions. Just look at Waitrose Kitchen's 400,000 print run or the 360,000 copies of the weekend title it circulates.

Very quietly, Mr Price has also expanded into TV, with short, online films of Phillip Schofield glugging wine with friends and the ubiquitous Sue Perkins presenting an Easter cooking show.

Mr Price must have been listening carefully in all those Channel 4 board meetings where he is a non-executive director.