Michael “Jim” Delligatti, the man credited with inventing the Big Mac almost 50 years ago, has died aged 98.
His death was confirmed by a spokeswoman for McDonald's, who told the Associated Press Delligatti passed away surrounded by his family.
Delligatti introduced fast food lovers to the concept of a double burger sandwiched between three slices of bread with special sauce, lettuce, pickles and onions from his franchise in Uniontown, Pittsburgh.
His invention was initially dismissed by the chain but he pushed to have it brought in across the board, believing that what fast food was missing was “a big sandwich”. However, he had to get it past McDonald's Corp first. “You couldn't do anything unless they gave you permission,” he told Reuters in a 2007 interview.
His creation became one of the most recognisable symbols of McDonald’s worldwide and was commemorated in the opening of a Big Mac Museum in 2007, which also featured a bust of Delligatti. But the financial reward for introducing the world to the Big Mac was apparently less forthcoming: “All I got for the Big Mac was a plaque.”
A pioneer of big eating, Delligatti’s contribution to supersizing fast food will be less warmly remembered by advocates of healthy eating and those tasked with tackling the obesity crisis in America.
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