In the olden days before Instagram was invented, people sometimes named a special dish in honour of royalty or another famous or accomplished person. Nowadays we get to see newly invented dishes beamed across the world in seconds, thanks to the power of social media.

Some of the old-fashioned dishes are still called after the person they were named for today, although many of us have no idea who they were or what they did. Let’s have a look at some of the famously-named dishes of yesteryear:

1. Margherita Pizza


Pizza has been around in various forms for a long time, but the famous cheese, basil and tomato pizza was supposedly named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, to commemorate her visit to Naples. The colors of the ingredients are said to echo the colors of the Italian flag, and as Italy was undergoing unification at the time it helped to unite everyone. There are many people, however, who believe this story is completely made up.

2. Souffle Diana

D&D London created this dish in 2008 when it took over Launceston Place in Kensington, which had been a regular haunt of Princess Diana in the early 1990’s. This dish is a cheese souffle at the center of which was a quenelle of mustard ice cream.

3. Nachos

This popular Tex-Mex dish was named after Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya, the Maître d’ at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Anaya created the dish for a group of US military wives who were visiting from nearby Fort Duncan, Texas. He cut tortillas into triangles, fried them and topped them off with cheese and jalapenos.

4. Beef Stroganoff

This dish of filet steak strips in a cream and paprika sauce was named after either Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, or Count Grigory Dmitriyevich Stroganov of Russia. It was a popular dish in the USA, before the Cold War in the 20th Century made it rather unpatriotic to eat.

5. Dr. Pepper

Dr. Charles Taylor Pepper was a real person, but he didn’t invent the drink that carries his name. The person who invented it was his former assistant, Wade Morrison, and his colleague Charles C. Alderton. They picked the name because it sounded medicinal, and that played into the fad for tonics and soft drinks at that time.

6. Caesar Salad

This famous dish was created by Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini or one of his colleagues at the Hotel Caesar in Tijuana, Mexico. Hotel Caesar is still there, and you can order an ‘original Caesar’s salad, dressed at your table’, which will cost around 120 pesos/seven US dollars.

7. Clementines

These small, juicy oranges are named after a monk called Pere Clement Rodier, who lived in Algeria at the end of the 19th Century. The monastery had an orchard, and the clementine was born here – it’s a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange. It may not have been a new discovery though, as it’s nearly identical to the Canton mandarin, which is grown in China.

8. Carpaccio

This was invented in 1950 by the owner of the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice. Guiseppe Cipriani, the owner, created a dish of thinly sliced raw beef served with a dressing, and he named it after a Venetian painter called Vittore Carpaccio. Carpaccio was famed for using deep reds in his works, and the raw beef perhaps reflects this!

9. Bellini Cocktail

Guiseppe Cipriani also named a drink of fresh peach puree and Prosecco after another painter – Giovanni Bellini.

10. The Sandwich

montecristo sandwich

Sandwiches have always been around in various forms long before they were given a specific name. The man credited with inventing the sandwich, which is basically a filling between two slices of bread, was the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu.

11. Beef Wellington

This robust dish is reportedly named after Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington who led the British forces to victory over Napoleon. This version is disputed by the late Clarissa Dickson Wright, who said that it was possibly invented for a civic reception in Wellington, New Zealand.

12. Oysters Rockefeller

This dish of oysters topped with a rich herb sauce was named after John D. Rockefeller, who was the richest man in America at the time in 1899. Jules Alciatore created the dish at Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans.

13. Omelette Arnold Bennett

In 1929, author Arnold Bennett was staying at the Savoy Hotel in London when this dish was invented especially for him by chef Jean Baptiste Virlogeux. It consists of a rich omelette topped with pieces of smoked haddock and topped with bechamel sauce, hollandaise, double cream and Parmesan cheese.