The Man Who Created The Most Controversial Pizza Has Died

Sam Panopoulos, who created the Hawaiian Pizza, has passed away

Priyanko Sarkar

Early this year, Iceland’s Prime Minister set off an online debate on the validity of pineapple pizza and set off a barrage of memes and divided the world between those who loved pineapple pizza and those who didn’t. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he loved pineapple pizza writing, “I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation,” he tweeted in response to his Icelandic counterpart.

Trudeau was referring to Sam Panopoulos’ creation, often called Hawaiian Pizza, in defending the pineapple pizza that was born in Ontario by the Greek-born restaurateur.

Panopoulos said that he created the dish in 1962 “just for the fun of it to see how it would taste” in a BBC interview this year. Sam and his brothers liked the contrast of the sweet pineapple against the savoury ham used in the pizza. They named it Hawaiian Pizza after the brand of canned pineapple used to make the pizza.

Panopoulos died at the age of 83 last week but his legacy lives on and continues to divide pizza lovers on which side of the pineapple fence they sit on.


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