As they say, genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. True to form, the birth of the Hot Brown involved a little of both.
In 1926, Chef Fred Schmidt of the Brown Hotel in Louisville had a hangover problem on his hands. Not his hangover, mind you, but after an all-night dinner dance at the hotel, his guests were looking for some after-party drunk munchies and he had to deliver. Now, breakfast food is always a post-party crowd-pleaser, but Chef Schmidt wanted to take it further. The Hot Brown — an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and Mornay sauce — hit all the sweet (and salty) spots that Chef Schmidt's guests were craving.