Along with Stonehenge and the Bermuda Triangle, Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion is more or less one of life's greatest mysteries—and with good reason. For years, the process behind crafting the classic appetizer has been seldom shared with the public, and thus, unanswered questions have clouded our minds. Where did these giant onions come from? Are the petals cut by tiny elves with tinier machetes?
Awesome news: after much begging and pleading, we were finally able to convince Outback to share just a little bit of the magic that is the Bloomin' Onion. That's right—Foodbeast went Outback. All of our burning questions were answered, and now we feel, like, 10 times more powerful.
It turns out that no elves are involved whatsoever. Tim Gannon, co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, developed the idea for the Bloomin’ Onion around 1988 after being inspired by a New Orleans dish, and the rest was history. The very first Bloom was first served at the flagship restaurant in Tampa, Florida; today, one out of every four appetizers ordered at Outback is a Bloom. With so many Bloomin’ Onions being cut on a yearly basis, how could one not assume that they’re created with magic?
Ray Forgie of the Buena Park, CA Outback explains that the colossal onions were originally trimmed by hand, but now a special machine called a “Gloria” is used to efficiently transform them into beautiful, 200+ petaled blooms. Thanks to the Gloria, 40 million blooms were served at Outback restaurants from 2012 through 2015, and there are many, many more to come.
With a Bloomin’ Onion Burger and steak on the menu, a mascot, as well as a spot in the annual Outback Bowl (we’ll get into that), it’s undeniable that the Bloomin’ Onion is nothing short of a food icon. Check out our exclusive visit with Outback for the complete Bloom lowdown, and even to find out how to get your very own free appetizer – either the iconic Bloomin’ Onion or some tasty Coconut Shrimp – after the January 2016 Outback Bowl!
Created in partnership with Outback Steakhouse