The name Sotirios “Sam” Panopoulos is not necessarily a household name, but his most famous invention is now enjoyed across the globe. Panopoulos is credited as the man who invented the pineapple pizza, sometimes known as the Hawaiian Pizza as pineapple is an indigenous fruit of Hawaii.
His invention was fist tested at a restaurant he opened in Canada before it became a favourite across the world.
Sotirios “Sam” Panopoulos was born in the small southern Greek village of Vourvoura in 1934 before emigrating to Canada in 1954.
In Canada, he became a successful restaurateur, but it was only in 1962 that he put his mark on the culinary world map.
An experiment in putting pineapple slices on an otherwise ordinary pizza became a staple on his menu and although some food purists disregarded his invention, the pineapple pizza is now served in restaurants world wide and enjoyed by millions.
Panopoulos is remembered as a generous man who recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his marriage to his wife Christina.
He was in good health at the time of his death, something which has shocked and saddened many of those who were close with him.
Panopoulos’ generation of Greeks who went abroad in search of new opportunities have been among the most successful generation of businessmen and entrepreneurs in the world. Greek businesses that sprung up in the US, Canada, Austria, UK, South Africa and elsewhere beginning in the early 20th century, continue to thrive.
Although the difficult political and economic situation in early 20th century Greece made it so that many young people sought a more stable life abroad, such people remained patriotic Greeks and devout Orthodox Christians.
The wider world has become a richer place because of Greek entrepreneurs like Mr. Panopoulos.
RIP Sotirios “Sam” Panopoulos (1934-1917).
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.