Foundations of Cookery (lost early BBC cooking show; 1939)
Foundations of Cookery is an early BBC television cooking show. It is notable for being the last television program hosted by French chef Marcel Boulestin, who had previously hosted the first cooking television program Cook's Night Out, Dish of the Month, and various one-off programs.
Like with Boulestin's other shows, Foundations of Cookery involved the chef detailing how to produce certain dishes. These episodes were broadcast between 22nd February to 12th July 1939. However, the limited detail provided by relevant Radio Times issues makes it impossible to determine what meals Boulestin cooked during these broadcasts. Nevertheless, issue 823, which detailed programs to be broadcast between the 9th and 15th of July, states that the final two episodes, broadcast on the 11th and 12th of July respectively, concerned making picnic food suitable for the hot weather. Additionally, there is a show simply titled Marcel Boulestin that was broadcast on 24th March 1939. Whether or not it was an episode of Foundations of Cookery is unknown, but it involved Boulestin showing how to make a Rouget Marseillaise.
Ultimately, Foundations of Cookery proved to be Boulestin's last television program. Whether or not he intended to host additional programs is unknown, but on 1st September 1939, BBC Television Centre ceased all transmission following the outbreak of the Second World War. During the Summer of 1939, Boulestin and British food writer Arthur Henry Adair were on holiday in the Landes at a house Boulestin himself built. Adair was unable to retreat from France as he became ill, with Boulestin deciding to remain in the country to provide support, even moving to Paris as Adair became imprisoned by the Germans. Boulestin remained in Paris for the remainder of his life, before passing away aged 65 on 20th September 1943, following a brief illness.
Like other early BBC television broadcasts, including all of Boulestin's shows, Foundations of Cookery was broadcast live and was not recorded. Therefore, all episodes are now permanently missing. A photo of Boulestin cooking is all that remains of the show.
- BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues, listing the episodes of Foundations of Cookery. Retrieved 18 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue 823 summarising the first picnic food episode. Retrieved 18 Apr '21
- Radio Times issue 823 summarising the second picnic food episode. Retrieved 18 Apr '21
- BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues, listing the Marcel Boulestin show which may well have been a Foundations of Cookery episode. Retrieved 18 Apr '21
- Radio Times summarising Marcel Boulestin Rouget Marseillaise program. Retrieved 18 Apr '21
- BBC Handbook for 1940 extract published on Transdiffusion, discussing BBC Television Centre ceasing all transmissions following the outbreak of the Second World War. Retrieved 18 Apr '21
- An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, which documented Boulestin's life and his final days. Retrieved 18 Apr '21