Foundations of Cookery (lost early BBC cooking show; 1939)

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The only known photo of Foundations of Cookery.

Status: Lost

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 from February 22nd to July 12th, 1939.[1] 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.[2][3] Additionally, there is a show simply titled Marcel Boulestin that was broadcast on 24th March 1939.[4] Whether or not it was an episode of Foundations of Cookery is unknown, but it involved Boulestin showing how to make a Rouget Marseillaise.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]


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.


See Also

Early BBC Television

Early BBC Sports Television

External Link