- Category : 1877-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Limitation 1
French chef, restaurateur, and the author of cookery books that popularised French cuisine in the English-speaking world. Boulestin was the first television chef, broadcasting for the BBC in television's earliest experimental days in 1937–1939.
Boulestin tried a number of occupations before finding his role as a restaurateur. He worked as secretary and ghostwriter to the author "Willy" (Henry Gauthier-Villars) in Paris, and then moved to London in 1906, where he made his home and career from 1906 onward. Among his friends were Robert Ross, Lord Alfred Douglas, and Reginald Turner.
Boulestin wrote a serial novel with a homosexual theme, Les Fréquentations de Maurice, under the pseudonym "Sidney Place". The book had a 'succès de scandale' in France, but was thought too racy for publication in Britain. In the same year he collaborated with Francis Toye, on a lightweight novel, The Swing of the Pendulum. Some of his feuilletons from London were published as Tableaux de Londres in a limited edition (1912). He also wrote for Academy, a review edited by Douglas; translated plays; and wrote articles that appeared in a variety of publications, including Vanity Fair, Gil Blas, and Mercure Musicale.
In November 1911 Boulestin opened Decoration Moderne, an interior design shop, which failed to make enough money. He wrote extensively, and was commissioned to write a simple French cookery book for English readers. It was a huge success, and thereafter his career was in cooking.
The Restaurant Boulestin, known as the most expensive in London, opened in 1927. It featured circus-theme murals by Laboureur and the French artist Marie Laurencin and fabrics by Raoul Dufy. Cecil Beaton called it "the prettiest restaurant in London." Its fame, and the long series of books and articles that Boulestin wrote, made him a celebrity. His cuisine was wide-ranging, embracing not only the French classics but also dishes familiar to British cooks.
Among those influenced by Boulestin was the English cookery expert Elizabeth David, who praised Boulestin in her writings, and adopted many of his precepts.
Some of his culinary books were written in collaboration with Arthur Henry "Robin" Adair, a British food writer who in 1923 became Boulestin's companion, literary partner and translator.
In the summer of 1939, Boulestin and Adair were taking their customary holiday in a house that Boulestin had built in the Landes. When France was invaded by Germany, Adair was ill, and unable to escape; Boulestin remained with him. Adair was interned as an enemy alien by the Germans, and held first in Bayonne and then nearer Paris. Boulestin moved to Paris to be close to him, and died there after a brief illness, aged 66, on 20 September 1943.
Adair was released at the end of the war and returned to England, becoming the cookery correspondent of the British magazine Harper's Bazaar. He died in 1956. Boulestin's restaurant continued under various managements until 1994.