Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc has returned after a long absence to spearhead a major relaunch of the Maison Blanc patisserie chain.

Blanc started the company in 1981 and now aims to take it back to basics as a consultant chef, offering quality French bread and patisserie. Each store will offer breakfast, light lunches and afternoon tea.

Maison Blanc promises to offer 15 varieties of French bread including the iconic baguette ‘tradition’. It sells speciality breads, Viennoiserie, savouries and patisserie as well as special occasion cakes. The patisserie is made in the Maison Blanc kitchens in London and delivered daily to the stores while the croissants and pastries are proofed and baked-off in store.

Said a spokesperson: “Raymond is redeveloping the range, removing some products and adding new ones. They will be iconic French products.”

In addition to store developments, Blanc and his team have recently produced a new range of cakes and patisserie for Waitrose, which are stocked in selected stores and updated seasonally. They include Macaroons and Apple & Blackberry Crumble Cake.

Raymond Blanc said: “We all have a lot to do in 2009 to get the business to where it has the potential to be. We are determined to be the leader in this market and have lots of exciting plans ahead.”

Maison Blanc has been acquiring new sites to grow the brand and recent openings include Hampstead in North London, Burford in the Cotswolds and Winchester, while a new store in Henley is due to open in June. It also plans to refurbish all of its 14 shops in London and the South East.

Maison Blanc was previously owned by bakery group Lyndale, which went into administration in 2008, and was bought prior to this in 2007 by Kuwait-based Kout Food Group Company, which decided to return to the original concept and values created by Blanc.