Delia Smith truly is a national treasure. In a career spanning five decades, she has ruled the roast as the queen of home cooking. This new series celebrates Delia’s incredible career and the many ways in which she has shaped both what people eat and how they cook it. Each episode is packed with fantastic archive footage, as Delia revisits her favourite recipes from each decade and recreates some with a contemporary twist.
The opening programme goes back to the roots of Delia’s mission to revive good old homely cooking. Her passion stemmed from watching her mother and grandmother concoct beautiful dishes from home-grown ingredients during the war.
Delia revisits the London restaurant – then called The Singing Chef – in which she worked as a waitress during the Swinging Sixties and whose wonderful chef was an early inspiration. She recreates roast duck in cherry sauce, a dish she cooked many times while working there.
Delia describes her epiphany as she researched 17th- and 18th-century recipe books in the reading rooms of the British Museum and recreates one of the first recipes she tried out from those old books, an 18th-century apple flan. This research inspired her belief that British cookery could be brought back to life if only someone would take up the challenge to popularise it. In homage to the Sixties and the trend for flambéing food, Delia also cooks up a soufflé omelette citron flambé.
During the Sixties, Delia worked as a food stylist in the advertising industry. She had her own slice of music history handed to her on a plate when, in 1969, she was asked to create a “gaudy cake” for the cover of The Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed. This led to a meeting with a literary agent who became a lifelong friend and has since played a huge part in her remarkable literary and television career.
Next week’s episode heads back to the Seventies, when Delia first arrived on Britain’s television screens.