Man Who Put Avocado Toast on the Map Has Died

Australian chef Bill Granger was 54
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2023 2:40 PM CST
He Put Avocado Toast on the Menu—and the Map
Bill Granger pose for a photo at Buckingham Palace, London, Oct. 13, 2011.   (Chris Radburn/PA via AP, File)

You can find avocado toast on the menus of many, if not most, breakfast joints these days. That was not the case in 1993, when self-taught cook Bill Granger opened his first restaurant, bills. At 21, the Aussie had just dropped out of art school and was keen to share his fresh take on breakfast and brunch with the world—or at least with the diners of Sydney, who gathered around communal tables. It's now thought bills may have been the first restaurant to offer avocado toast, or "smashed avo," on its menu, the Washington Post reports. The "Bill" of bills would come to be called the "King of Breakfast." He died on Christmas Day at age 54, Granger's family announced Tuesday. His death followed "a long battle with cancer," per the Sydney Morning Herald.

Granger, credited with spurring "the growth of Australian informal and communal eating around the world," passed away surrounded by his wife and three daughters at a hospital in London, the family's "adopted home," according to a statement. It said Granger made "unpretentious food into something special." Yet he didn't claim credit for the craze that is avocado toast. The Melbourne-born chef gave all the credit to his patrons. He simply offered avocado as a side dish to be served with toast, and his customers requested, and came to love, the combination, per the Post. In 2008, Granger's bills went international with a location in Tokyo. Today there are 19 locations around the world, including in Seoul and London.

Dubbed the "godfather of avocado toast," Granger "exported a new generation of Australian food culture to the wider world," per the Evening Standard. He wrote more than a dozen cookbooks, beginning with 2000's Sydney Food, which holds recipes for toasted coconut waffles with fresh mango and banana maple porridge with buttered apples. He also hosted five TV cooking shows. His death came less than a year after he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to tourism and hospitality. In the wake of his death, he was honored by celebrities from Hugh Jackman to Gwyneth Paltrow to Jamie Oliver. Oliver said "he was such a wonderful man, warm, charming, and had an extraordinary ease and style in cooking that could only come from Australia," per the Standard. (More chef stories.)

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