One of our most popular foodservice products is our Plate & Platter Mayonnaise, which is consumed all around Australia in restaurants, cafes and hospitality venues. Most of us don’t think about the origins of a staple like mayonnaise, but the humble ‘mayo’ has an interesting, if not contested, history.
The possible origins of mayonnaise
Mayonnaise began to appear in French cuisine in the early 1800s, with mentions in early German and British cookbooks of French cookery. But there are several stories about where it originated.
One popular tale says it was first made in 1756 after French forces laid siege to the island of Minorca. The French Army, under the command of Duke de Richelieu took control at Port Mahon, on the Mediterranean island, which is now a part of Spain, in the first European battle of the Seven Years’ War.
It is said that the Duke’s resourceful chef, upon finding the island lacked the cream he needed for the typical sauce made of cream and eggs, invented an egg and oil dressing dubbed mahonnaise for its place of birth. Some other versions of the story suggest that the chef learned the recipe from the locals.
Some years later, French Chef Marie-Antoine Careme, recognised as inventing haute cuisine, is credited with lightening the original recipe by blending the vegetable oil and egg yolks into an emulsion. It is likely that it was his modified recipe that became famous throughout the world.
Yet another theory suggested that the name ‘mayonnaise’ was originally ‘Bayonnaise’, named after the French-Basque town of Bayonne and that it was first made in France. Over time the name morphed into the delicious modern product we call mayonnaise.
What makes mayonnaise special?
Mayonnaise is an emulsion, which is a mixture of two liquids that normally cannot be easily combined. Emulsifying is done by slowly adding one ingredient to another while simultaneously mixing rapidly. This disperses and suspends tiny droplets of one liquid through another.
But without an emulsifier, the two liquids would quickly separate again. In the case of mayonnaise, the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise is used as the base for many other sauces, such as tartare sauce, which we also produce at Steric.
“While most Australian consumers have not heard the Steric name, there’s a good chance that most have consumed our products.”
Australian food manufacturing leaders making major contributions
Plate & Platter Whole Egg Mayonnaise by Steric is formulated by our Executive Chef John Slaughter. It is a full-flavoured mayonnaise with the highest percentage of whole egg on the market. We create it using only the finest local Australian ingredients including cage-free eggs.
While most Australian consumers have not heard the Steric name, there’s a good chance that most have consumed our products, with a range of 150 key products that are supplied to the foodservice and hospitality industry.
This includes restaurants, cafes, hotels and more with a wide range of essential food products, including dressings, sauces, oils & vinegars, dry ingredients, toppings, and beverages.
Steric also produces private label food products for the biggest supermarkets in Australia and New Zealand.