This Man Claims to Have Invented Avocado Toast in 1993
We will never stop hearing about avocado toast until the ice caps melt or every single millennial owns a home. It’s hard to tell which will happen first. It might seem like this trendy dish was specifically engineered to bankrupt everyone with an Instagram account, but the Australian chef widely credited with avocado toast’s ‘invention’ says its origin was much more innocuous.
Bill Granger was just a 21-year-old art school dropout when he opened Bill’s, his first cafe in Sydney. With its business hours legally limited to a 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. window, it wasn’t easy to make ends meet. Of course, necessity is the mother of invention. In a stroke of genius, Granger got devised a dressed-up avocado spread on toast as a way to expand his breakfast menu in 1993. It proved to be a watershed moment, one the Washington Post would later deem to be the “first recorded sighting” of the dish that’s bankrupting young adults the world over.
Further cementing his status as an advocate of avocado spread, Granger is also credited with legitimizing the dish by being the first to include it in a cookbook. It was a move that even he was hesitant to make at the time. “We had been selling it at the restaurant for years and I remember thinking this is so silly putting a recipe for avocado on toast in a book,” he recalled to the Daily Mail, “so I jazzed it up a bit and put a bit of lime and coriander on it.”
Whatever he did, it’s clearly worked. Now 48, Granger owns and operates 18 restaurants and cafes around the globe, including his latest opening in Osaka, Japan. It sounds like he’s gotten over his trepidation about sharing avocado toast with the world, and possibly even enjoys the reputation. “'I am now known as the avocado on toast person and not the scrambled egg person, which is quite nice actually,' he told The Australian.
As for his take on avocado toast’s popularity (at least in the land down under), Granger chalks it up to how avocado toast fits into the country’s culture at large: “'It is in the Australian attitude to life. People are interested in health - they want to get up early, go for a surf and eat healthy, and because the climate is so mild it makes you want to eat fresh food.” So next time a baby boomer chastises you for ordering avocado toast, just tell them it’s because you’re thinking of taking up surfing. It might just shut them up.