Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Delia Smith talks cooking through the decades
Delia Smith
Delia Smith looked back through her career in a 2010 BBC television series

Celebrity chef Delia Smith has been a foodie all of her life and she recalled her journey in cooking in the BBC series Delia through the Decades.

Even though she is not planning on creating any more cookery books in the near future, the renowned chef is not ruling out a return.

"I don't think anyone could need any more [books]! I can't really better them," said Delia.

The TV series ran every Monday until 8 February 2010, at 8.30pm on BBC2.

Being considered a national treasure, with her television cooking career starting in the 1960s, her culinary skills have brought simple, but tasty British cuisine to the average family home.

Her obsession with trying out new ideas in the kitchen, plus balancing life with the ups-and-downs of her other passion as the joint majority shareholder of Norwich City Football Club, unfortunately caught up with Delia as she entered her 69th year of life.

"Last year [2009] was a hard year for me and I did end up at the beginning of December on all fours crawling about with exhaustion," she said.

"But we had a holiday before Christmas, had a rest, recharged the batteries and then I was raring to go again."

Television series

Creating her documentary-style television series, which focused on a decade each week, allowed Delia to take a relaxed approach and enjoy looking back at what she had achieved in her career.

Delia Smith
Delia has been teaching people to cook on television since the 1970s

The first episode started with Delia going back to her roots to find out what inspired her to cook - the chef at the former London restaurant The Singing Chef, where she initially learned her trade as a waitress.

Delia hoped that her lifelong fans would, if nothing else, share a bit of a giggle with her at how times have changed.

"It's quite funny looking at archive. I look at the clothes and I sit there thinking 'If only I was this thin now!'"

Being thrown into the spotlight in the 1970s, where she started her long career as a television chef, gave the young Delia no time for being shy.

"The next programme [the 1970s] is really funny, it's absolutely hysterical because the first series I ever did, I did it with a very BBC voice," she said prior to the episode.

"I wasn't really shy, but doing television, looking at a camera and speaking to imaginary people for the first time and cooking at the same time, with no editing, was terrifying!

"The program was 24 minutes, 30 seconds and you had to do it in that time. If you made a mistake in the middle you had to start at the top. It was very good television training, but I did look a bit shy!

"It's one of the nice things about being old, you go through your young life being terrified of things and then when you get older, the ego does start to die off."

The luxuries of running water in the 1970s BBC studio kitchens were also non-existent.

"I was in the weather studio in the BBC and there was just a bucket of soapy water," said Delia.

"Every now and again I'd have to squat down and it looks quite funny. I've really enjoyed looking back," she added.

"Being greedy"

The key to Delia's successful career is that her burning passion and hobby is, as she puts it, simply "being greedy".

Delia Smith at BBC Radio Norfolk
Delia hoped that her television series would inspire some new chefs

"The huge qualification and gift that I have is that I just love eating! I'm always thinking about where the next meal is coming from and what I'm going to have, and that keeps me going," she said.

"I'm interested in being creative, it is a very human thing.

"We have to eat three times a day and I'll never lose interest. Even if I'm not publishing recipes I'll still be thinking 'I'd like to try that' or 'I wonder if that will work?' because it's in my blood now."

Delia through the Decades ran every Monday until 8 February 2010, at 8.30pm on BBC2.

In pictures: Norfolk Food Festival '09
02 Oct 09 |  Arts & Culture
Richard Hughes' culinary empire
09 Sep 09 |  Arts & Culture
CBE for cookery broadcaster Delia
13 Jun 09 |  Norfolk




Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific