Main course

Steak Diane

Once the doyenne of the Seventies restaurant menu, steak Diane has been all but lost to time. Nobody makes it any more. In a recent stage show, Eighties glamour star Joan Collins lamented the decline of steak Diane and professed it as her favourite dish. This throwaway comment from Mrs Collins inspired us to go and find out how it is done.

Steak Diane is not listed in Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire, nor does it make an appearance in Larousse. Given that Escoffier covered pretty much every sauce in existence at he time he wrote Le Guide, and that he loved to name sauces after women, it is safe to assume that the Diane sauce came along some time later. Some say it arose in 1930s London, and others suggest it came from Ostend.

So far as etymology goes, there are two principal theories doing the rounds:

  1. Diana, Goddess of the Hunt. The Diane sauce is made from heavily flavoured ingredients, mushrooms and booze, all of which lend the sauce well to game dishes. As hunted food, it is not a stretch to imagine venison steaks slathered over with this rich sauce being name after the Roman and Hellenic Diana.
  2. Lady Diana Cooper. Socialite and actress Diana Cooper was one fit bird. Once noted as one of the most beautiful women in England, she may have been fêted by London chef Tony Clerici, who said he invented steak Diane at his Mayfair restaurant Tony’s Grill in 1938.

Joan Collins is not the only famous fan of steak Diane. The dish was also a firm favourite in the British Royal court. The Duke of Windsor (he of Wallis Simpson fame) was said to enjoy the dish, and it was also picked up by Lord Louis Mountbatten who ordered it every single time he visited the Café de Paris on London in the 1930s. Without fail, he would order half a dozen oysters and a steak Diane.

Steak Diane fan Joan Collins with husband Percy at the Buxton Opera House, November 2023.

Steak Diane

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
By Nigel Eastmond Serves: 2
Cooking Time: 15 mins


  • For the steak:
  • 2 ribeye steaks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 shallot finely shopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 75g button mushrooms. sliced
  • 50ml cognac
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp Dijon mustard combined
  • 100ml double cream
  • Small handful for fresh parsley, finely chopped.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To cook the steak:


Brush the steaks with the oil on both sides and season.


Heat a frying pan to hot. Cook the steak on both sides until done as liked. Remove to a plate to rest.

To make the sauce:


In the same pan, add the butter, shallots and garlic and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the cognac and flambé.


Add the mustard mixture, whisk in and cook for a minute. Add the cream, heat to bubbling and season. Add the parsley and pour the sauce over the steaks.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.