Remembering the Inventive Spirit: Ignacio Anaya García and the Birth of Nachos

Saurav Singh

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Ignacio Anaya García (15 August 1895 – 9 November 1975) was a Mexican maître d’ who is credited with inventing the popular Tex-Mex dish known as nachos. He came up with this creation at the Victory Club restaurant located near the Texas-Mexico border in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, in 1943. Nachos became a sensation, and Anaya’s invention gained widespread popularity.

Life and Career

Born in San Carlos, Manuel Benavides, Chihuahua, Mexico, on 15 August 1895, Ignacio Anaya García worked at the Victory Club restaurant, which was frequented by Americans from a nearby military base during World War II. The story goes that Anaya created nachos one day when a group of US Army wives entered the restaurant and the chef was absent. He improvised the dish by topping tortilla chips with cheese and jalapeño peppers, and it became an instant hit.

Due to the success of nachos, Anaya was promoted from maître d’ to chef. In the 1960s, he established his own restaurant. Despite the dish’s popularity, Anaya never profited from its widespread imitation.

Ignacio Anaya García, nicknamed Nacho (a short form of Ignacio), passed away on 9 November 1975. He left behind a legacy tied to his culinary creation. To honor him, a bronze plaque was placed in Piedras Negras, and the city holds an annual Nacho Fest around October 21, known as the International Day of the Nacho.

Award and Legacy

The popularity of nachos continued to grow, especially with the invention of processed cheese sauce by Frank Liberto and the mention of “nachos” by Howard Cosell during an NFL game commentary in 1978. Nachos have since evolved to include various toppings, reflecting the enduring appeal of Anaya’s contribution.

In 2019, on what would have been his 124th birthday, Ignacio Anaya García was celebrated with a Google Doodle. His creation, nachos, has become a beloved snack enjoyed by people around the world, and his legacy lives on in the culinary world.

On 15 August 2019, a Google Doodle was created to celebrate Ignacio Anaya García’s 124th Birthday.