Melba Toast and Peach Melba are the result of a chef’s infatuation with an opera singer.
Australian Helen Porter Mitchell took the stage name Nellie Melba from her hometown, Melbourne, when she traveled the world’s stages in the late 1800s.
In London, she stayed at the Savoy Hotel, where head chef Auguste Escoffier poured out his love for her and her art by creating a peach and ice cream dessert inspired by the swans in Lohengrin, the opera Melba was performing in.
The next morning, overstuffed from the night before, the opera singer ordered only plain toast, sliced extra thin.
One can’t help but imagine that if she’d stayed longer at the Savoy, we’d now also have Chicken a la Melba, Melba Eggs, Melba Oatmeal, Melba Fish and Chips, Melba Bangers, and Grilled Cheese Melbas.