Melba toast may have first been called “Toast Marie”. Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846 – 1935), was a friend of César Ritz, the hotel magnate. In the mid to late 1880s, he was chef at the Savoy in London and César Ritz was the manager (Ritz would open the Paris Ritz a year later, in 1898). César’s wife, Marie, was explaining how toast never seemed to be thin enough for her. Escoffier came up with what we now call Melba toast for her.
In 1897, Nellie Melba was staying at the Savoy Hotel in London. She was apparently not feeling well and was on a diet that included toast. Escoffier presented her with “Toast Marie” to tempt the ailing diva to eat something. She loved it, and he renamed it after her. Marie Ritz didn’t appear to mind — after all, like her husband she was a businesswoman, too (she managed the Ritz in Paris after César died in 1918).