Who Invented Caesar Dressing


When you go out to eat, you’re often given a choice of salad. Do you want the house variety? Or do you want a Caesar salad? Many people believe that the Caesar salad is named after the great Roman Caesars, but that isn’t true. It’s actually named for an Italian chef who came to the United States and opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. His named was Caesar Cardini and like many great inventions, Caesar dressing was born out of necessity.

With an unexpected amount of visitors, he was running short on supplies. Not wanting to turn anyone away, Caesar created a salad and dressing out of the remainder of items he had on hand. That’s not the only story that involves this wonderfully tasty dressing and salad, however, that was invented sometime around 1924.

What It Caesar’s Brother Who Actually Invented the Dressing?

According to Cardini’s business partner, the origination of Caesar dressing actually comes from the invention of a salad called the Aviator’s Salad that was primarily sold to airmen who were stationed in San Diego. Cardini’s brother Alex backs up this part of the story, but adds in another wrinkle: he claims that he invented the dressing, not his brother Caesar.

There may be some truth to the idea that the Caesar salad was once known as the Aviator’s Salad. As one retired soldier told the tale, he and his buddies were dining in Tijuana one night and ended up missing curfew. Forced to stay at the restaurant, they had a long night of drinking and fun. After passing out, they awoke in the morning to see these Aviator’s salads sitting before them that Caesar had made.

No matter what the truth may be, there’s one point of common ground: this salad was invented at Cardini’s restaurant. It also became quite famous thanks to Julia Child, who once ate at the restaurant and included the original recipe from Caesar’s daughter Rosa in her very famous cookbooks.

Did You Know the Original Salad Was Finger Food?

If you order a Caesar salad today, you’ll likely be given a salad fork to enjoy the dish. Those forks don’t quite work to get those croutons picked up, do they? That’s because the original Caesar salad was actually designed to be eaten with one’s fingers instead of silverware. The original salad used whole Romaine lettuce and the plate was arraigned so that the stems of the leaves would face outward. The ingredients would just be on the leaves and one could just pick them up.

If you’re getting a Caesar salad that uses anchovies, however, you are getting an original Alex Cardini salad. Adding the anchovies was the one improvement that he made and it is very much a popular side item for the salad in many of today’s restaurants. Even some dressing that you can get at the store has anchovies as one of the primary ingredients.

Although the Caesar salad was the primary culinary invention that came out of Cardini’s restaurant in Tijuana, it is one that definitely changed the culinary world. The combination of Parmesan, olive oil, eggs, lemon, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce has an amazing flavor that just can’t be duplicated.

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