1962 Hawaiian Pizza created in Canada

History does not record when the first Hawaiian Pizza arrived in Australia. But the man credited with its invention was a Greek Canadian, Sam Panopoulos who introduced the dish, with its pineapple and ham topping, in 1962 at his Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. The dish was copied worldwide (although perhaps not in Italy).

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love pineapple on pizza and those who believe it’s an abomination. Your author belongs to the latter category. I have high-level support for my antipathy. In 2016, the President of Iceland, Guoni Johannesson, claimed that he was opposed to pineapple on pizza and said it should be banned. Fortunately for pineapple-loving Icelanders, he didn’t have the power to legislate such a ban.

It’s particularly bizarre that this so-called tropical delight was invented in cold-climate Canada. Sam Panopoulos operated a string of restaurants with his brothers, Elias and Nikitas and claimed he invented the Hawaiian Pizza ‘just for fun’, taking its title from the brand of canned pineapple used on the topping.

Australia’s first pizza restaurants arrived before the claimed invention of the Hawaiian Pizza. Probably Australia’s first pizza restaurant, Lucia’s opened at the Adelaide Central Market in 1959. Toto’s, Melbourne’s first pizza place, opened in 1961. Despite their authentic Italian origins, both have subsequently succumbed to the pineapple-loving public’s demands and offer, respectively, a ‘Ham & Pineapple’ or a ‘Tropical’ pizza.

Sam Panopoulos died in June 2017 with the Hawaiian Pizza as his legacy. That man had a lot to answer for.

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