In 1897, when an Australian opera singer became ill, Auguste Escoffier, her chef and fan, created a dry thin toast to settle her stomach. Her name was Dame Nellie Melba. The culinary landscape is a buffet of recipes with such stories behind their names: Beef Stroganoff, Beef Wellington, Lobster Newberg, Bananas Foster, and the Arnold Palmer to name a few.
In 1907, another opera singer became an international success at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London. She went on to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House and the Chicago Opera. Her name? Louisa Tetrazzini, also known as the Florentine Nightingale, born in Florence, Italy, in 1871.
My grandfather, Nicholas Sabatini, was a fan of this coloratura soprano. And so it was, in the late twenties at New York’s Delmonico’s restaurant, he created Chicken Tetrazzini.