Steak Diane
TypeMain course
Place of originBritain or possibly Belgium
Created byPossibly Bartolomeo Calderoni or Beniamino Schiavon and Luigi Quaglino
Main ingredientsbeefsteak

Steak Diane is a dish of pan-fried beefsteak with a sauce made from the seasoned pan juices. It was originally cooked tableside[1] and sometimes flambéed. It was most likely invented in London in the 1930s. From the 1940s through the 1960s it was a standard dish in "Continental cuisine",[2][3][4][5] and is now considered retro.[6][7][8]


"Steak Diane" does not appear in the classics of French cuisine;[9] it was most likely invented in London in the 1930s,[10] although one source suggests Ostend in Belgium.[11]

The name Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, has been used for various game-related foods,[12] but the "venison steak Diane" attested in 1914, although it is sautéed and flambéed, is sauced and garnished with fruits, unlike later steak Diane recipes.[13]

Steak Diane was known before the Second World War. A London newspaper of 1938 reported "a midnight order for champagne and steak Diane" at the Palace Hotel, St Moritz.[14] Bartolomeo Calderoni, the head chef of Quaglino's restaurant in Mayfair in the 1930s, was reported in 1955 to have popularised "the then rarely encountered Steak Diane, which he used personally to cook for the Duke of Windsor, then the Prince of Wales [until 1936],[15] with whom the dish was a great favourite".[10] Indeed, Calderoni claimed in 1988 to have invented it.[16][17] According to a 1957 article, Lord Louis Mountbatten was a regular diner at the Café de Paris in London in the 1930s and "nearly always had the same dinner – a dozen and a half oysters and steak Diane".[18]

The dish was known in Australia by 1940, when it was mentioned in an article about the Sydney restaurant Romano's as its signature dish. Romano's maître d'hôtel, Tony Clerici, said he invented it in London at his Mayfair restaurant Tony's Grill in 1938 and named it in honour of Lady Diana Cooper.[19][20] Clerici may have learned the dish from Charles Gallo-Selva, who had previously worked at Quaglino's in London.[20][21][22]

The dish had also appeared in the US by 1940,[23][24] although it was not widely known.[25] Later in the 1940s, steak Diane featured frequently on the menus of restaurants popular with New York café society, perhaps as part of the fad for tableside-flambéed dishes.[26] It was served by the restaurants at the Drake and Sherry-Netherland hotels and at The Colony,[27][28] the 21 Club, and Le Pavillon.[7][27] In New York it is often attributed to Beniamino Schiavon, "Nino of the Drake",[5] the maître d'hôtel of the Drake Hotel. Schiavon was said in 1968 to have created the dish with Luigi Quaglino at the Plage Restaurant in Ostend, Belgium, and named it after a "beauty of the nineteen-twenties"[11] or perhaps "a reigning lady of the European demimonde in the nineteen twenties".[29] At the Drake, it was called "Steak Nino".[30] In 2017 another establishment was suggested as the originator of steak Diane: the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro.[20]


Steak Diane is similar to steak au poivre.[31] Early recipes had few ingredients: steak, butter, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and chopped parsley,[24] and possibly garlic.[32] The steak is cut or pounded thin so that it will cook rapidly, sautéed in the seasoned butter and Worcestershire sauce, and served garnished with the parsley. It was not flambéed. Later American versions were more elaborate: the three New York City recipes from 1953 add some or all of brandy, sherry, chives, dry mustard, and lemon juice. Only one recipe explicitly calls for flambéing: the sauce is flambéed with brandy, dry sherry, or Madeira, and poured over the steak.[28] Some more recent recipes add cream[33][34] or mushrooms[35] or both[36] to the sauce. Others are more similar to the older recipes.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Livio Borra, letter to the editor, The Times, 26 July 1958, p. 7
  2. ^ Max Jacobson, "Blast from a tasty past", Los Angeles Times, March 26, 1998 [1]: "steak Diane and all the other Continental dishes an up-to-date foodie would be embarrassed to admit knowing of"
  3. ^ Lobel's Culinary Club, August 17, 2012 [2]: "Steak Diane is among those popular dishes in ubiquitous cosmopolitan, Continental-style restaurants of the 1950s and ’60s that combined high style with leather banquettes, white-linen table cloths and dishes of American and European influences, a bit of theater and dramatic preparation."
  4. ^ Mark R. Vogel, "Diana: The Legacy of the Huntress", FoodReference [3]: "One thing is for sure. Steak Diane was the rage in the 50s and early 60s, especially in New York."
  5. ^ a b Pierre Franey, "60-Minute Gourmet; Steak Diane", The New York Times, January 31, 1979 [4]
  6. ^ Florence Fabricant, "New Wave in the East River: David Burke", The New York Times November 9, 1988, characterizes it as "retro"
  7. ^ a b Leah Koenig, "Lost Foods of New York City: Steak Diane", Politico, March 14, 2012 [5]: "Lost Foods of New York City is a column that celebrates the food and drink that once fed the city, but have disappeared.... America’s collective obsession with all things mid-century New York City is back in full martini-slinging force. What better time, then, to celebrate steak Diane—a dish so quintessentially retro-glamorous, it might as well be called steak Don Draper."
  8. ^ Jan Aaron, 101 Great Choices: Washington DC, Part 3, p. 76
  9. ^ Louis Saulnier, Le Répertoire de la Cuisine, 1914
  10. ^ a b "A Gourmet's Guide", The Sketch, 20 April 1955, pp. 54–55
  11. ^ a b "Beniamino Schiavon is Dead; Known as Mr. Nino of the Drake", The New York Times, November 19, 1968, p. 47
  12. ^ Larousse Gastronomique, 1st edition "Oeufs à la Diane", with purée of game; Bécasse (woodcock) à la Diane; etc.; Larousse Gastronomique, 2001 edition, p. 416; Sauce Diane, a sauce poivrade with cream, truffle, and hard-boiled egg white served with venison in Escoffier's Guide Culinaire (1907)
  13. ^ A. C. Hoff, ed., Steaks, Chops and Fancy Egg Dishes, International Cooking Library, International Publishing Co., 1914, p. 20 full text
  14. ^ "Ski Resort in Summer", The Weekly Dispatch, 7 August 1938, p. 2
  15. ^ "Edward VIII (Jan−Dec 1936)", The Royal Family. Retrieved 3 May 2022
  16. ^ "Meo is brought to book at last", "The Times Diary/PHS", The Times, April 11, 1978, p. 16 (column 4, bottom)
  17. ^ Caterer & Hotelkeeper 179:53 (1988)
  18. ^ "It Was Fun While it Lasted", The Sketch, 4 December 1957, p. 18
  19. ^ "Mayfair", "Heard here and There", Sydney Morning Herald, February 29, 1940, p. 19
  20. ^ a b c "1939 Steak Diane introduced to Australia", Jan O'Connell, A Timeline of Australian Food: from mutton to MasterChef, 2017, ISBN 1742235344, as quoted on the Australian food history timeline web site
  21. ^ "Former Host to Royalty Here to Manage Romano's", Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga), May 4, 1951, p. 1
  22. ^ The Atlantic Monthly, 159:274 (1937)
  23. ^ Spécialités de la Maison. American Friends of France. 1940.
  24. ^ a b Morris, Charlotte Sidle (1941). Favorite Recipes of Famous Musicians. p. 38.
  25. ^ Muir, Helen. "Very Truly Yours", Miami Herald, 21 March 1942, p. 5
  26. ^ John Fuller, Guéridon and Lamp Cookery: A Complete Guide to Side-table and Flambé Service, 1964, p. 69
  27. ^ a b Arthur Schwartz, "21's Steak Diane",[6]archived quoting from Arthur Schwartz, New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes, 2008
  28. ^ a b Nickerson, Jane (January 25, 1953). "Steak Worthy of the Name". New York Times Magazine. p. 32. also quoted in Olver, Lynne (2000). "Steak Diane". The Food Timeline.
  29. ^ Grace Glueck, "Hotel gives fête for its Maître D'", The New York Times, October 26, 1967, p. 50
  30. ^ Stanley Turkel, Great American Hotel Architects, 2019, ISBN 1728306892, p. 311
  31. ^ Mark Bittman, "The Minimalist: A Tender Celebration", The New York Times, 8 February 2006 full text
  32. ^ "Tony's famous steak Diane", Australian Women's Weekly, 20 October 1954, p. 74
  33. ^ "Steak Diane for Two", Cooking, The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2022
  34. ^ "Steak Diane", BBC Good Food. Retrieved 4 May 2022
  35. ^ Patten, Marguerite (1982). Cooking for Two. London: Hamlyn. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-60-032273-3. and Paré, Jean (1989). Company's Coming: Main Courses. Edmonton: Company's Coming. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-96-933221-3.
  36. ^ Lagasse, Emeril (2005). Emeril's Delmonico: A Restaurant With a Past. New York: William Morrow. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-06-074046-7.
  37. ^ "Steak Diane", Cooked. Retrieved 4 May 2022