Hotels where world's most famous dishes were invented, from tiramisu to carpaccio

Make a detour on your next trip abroad to visit where these celebrated foods and drinks originated

Book a table at Le Beccherie in Treviso, Italy where the Italian dessert tiramisu originated. Photo: Cris Cantan
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Some dishes are so famous they are known and served the world over.

Desserts such as the simple chocolate brownie and the layered tiramisu, not to mention the brunch classic eggs Benedict, are enjoyed across the globe on a daily basis and the stories of how they originated are as interesting as the dishes are delicious.

Inspired by famous opera singers, European countesses and foods that mama used to make, these are the hotels, restaurants and bars where nine famous dishes and drinks were invented.

Waldorf salad, Waldorf Astoria New York, USA

The Park Avenue landmark is where the eponymous Waldorf salad was invented in the late 1800s.

The dish was invented by the hotel’s maitre d’ Oscar Tschirky in March 1896, and made its debut at a charity ball held at the hotel.

The original recipe comprised just apples, celery and mayonnaise, but the salad has evolved over the years to include walnuts, grapes and lettuce.

Singapore sling, Raffles Hotel, Singapore

It has been making headlines ever since it first opened in 1887. The first hotel in the region to have electric lights and ceiling fans, Raffles Hotel was declared a National Monument by the Singapore government in 1987.

Its celebrated Long Bar is also where the globally renowned drink, the Singapore sling was invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. Famously pink in colour, it was created to look like a fruit juice.

Beef carpaccio, Harry’s Bar, Venice, Italy

Since it first opened in 1931, the legendary establishment has welcomed the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Maria Callas, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and, in more recent times, George Clooney. Its most famous patron remains Nobel Prize-winning American writer Ernest Hemingway, who had his own reserved table.

It's at Harry’s Bar where beef carpaccio was invented in the 1950s by owner Giuseppe Cipriani. He created the raw dish for the Countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo, who had been advised by her doctor not to eat cooked meats.

The dish was named for the artist Vittore Carpaccio, whose works were being exhibited in Venice at the time and whose use of reds reminded Cipriani of the colour of meat.

Chocolate brownie, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, USA

One of the world’s most popular desserts originated in Chicago at the Palmer House Hotel in 1893.

The sweet treat came about when Bertha Palmer, the wife of the hotel’s owner Potter Palmer, asked the kitchen staff to create a dish that could be included in the lunch boxes of female hotel guests who were attending the World’s Columbian Exposition in the city.

Made of chocolate, walnuts and an apricot glaze, the name of the dessert came a few years later, and the hotel still bakes them to the original recipe.

Eggs Benedict, Delmonico's, New York, USA

The origins of this breakfast and brunch favourite are disputed, with Lower Manhattan restaurant Delmonico’s and New York’s Waldorf Astoria both claiming credit for the dish.

Delmonico’s menu states that they created it back in 1860, and one of their chefs, Charles Ranhofer, published a recipe for eggs à la Benedict in 1894.

At the Waldorf, it’s claimed that in 1894, Oscar Tschirky (of Waldorf Salad fame) was inspired by and tweaked the breakfast order of Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stockbroker who ordered “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a hooker of hollandaise” for breakfast.

Peach Melba, The Savoy, London, England

French chef Auguste Escoffier is the man behind the popular dessert peach melba, which he created while overseeing the kitchens of London’s Savoy Hotel.

The dish was for Australian soprano Nellie Melba, whose acclaimed performance in the opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden was being honoured with a dinner thrown for her at The Savoy by the Duke of Orleans.

Escoffier served Melba fresh peaches on vanilla ice cream on top of an ice sculpture of a swan, which was a nod to the opera.

Originally named Peche au cygnet (peach with a swan), when Escoffier moved to London’s Ritz Carlton, he added raspberry puree and renamed it peach melba.

Bloody Mary, The St Regis New York, USA

French bartender Fernand Petiot is credited with inventing the drink, later perfecting it and adding more ingredients while working at the St Regis in the Big Apple.

Originally made up of two ingredients, Petiot says he first made it in 1921 while working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris when it was called the 'Bucket of Blood'.

Petiot says the modern drink came about in 1934 at the King Cole Room in the St Regis, when he added salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce and called it the 'Red Hammer'.

Its final name has been attributed to many different sources from early Hollywood star Mary Pickford to a waitress and a cabaret performer.

Tiramisu, Le Beccherie, Treviso, Italy

Arguably one of the most famous Italian desserts in the world, the coffee-flavoured tiramisu dates back almost 70 years and is most closely linked to Le Beccherie in Piazza Ancillotto, Treviso.

In 1955, restaurant owner Alba Campeol was pregnant. Her mother-in-law would make her a breakfast of zabaglione (an Italian dessert made of custard and cream) with coffee to give her energy throughout the day.

After welcoming her child, Campeol worked with her pastry chef, Roberto Loli Linguanotto to create a dessert based on the snack.

In 1972, while presenting at the Milan Trade Fair, Le Beccherie’s menu featured tiramisu for the first time, which translated means “pick-me-up.”

Vichyssoise, Ritz-Carlton New York, USA

The classic soup made up of leeks, onions, potatoes and cream is more than 100 years old, and originated at the Ritz-Carlton New York.

Leek and potato soup is a traditional staple of French cuisine called Potage Parmentier, with the modern version invented in 1971 by the hotel’s French head chef Louis Diat.

Recalling how his mother would add milk to the breakfast soup to cool it, Diat also added cream and chives, naming it for the famous Vichy region of France.

Updated: March 10, 2024, 4:11 AM