Hector Boyardee: Difference between revisions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(Tag: shouting)
Line 22: Line 22:
==Further reading==
==Further reading==

Revision as of 13:49, 30 October 2009

Ettore (Hector) Boiardi, the real Chef Boyardee.

Ettore (Hector) Boiardi (October 22, 1897 – June 21, 1985) was an Italian-born chef who became famous for his eponymous brand of food products, named Chef Boyardee.

Early life

Ettore Boiardi was born in Piacenza, Italy, to Giuseppe and Maria Maffi Boiardi. On May 9, 1914, at the age of 16, he arrived at Ellis Island aboard the La Lorraine, a ship of French registration.


Boiardi became the head chef at the Plaza Hotel in New York, where his brother had worked; it was his brother's employment there that had enabled him to join its staff as well. In 1915, he supervised the catering for the reception of President Woodrow Wilson's second wedding[1] at the Greenbrier, in West Virginia. His entrepreneurial skill became fine-tuned when he opened his first restaurant, Il Giardino d'Italia, whose name translated as “The Garden of Italy,” at East 9th Street and Woodland Avenue in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio,[2] in 1926. The patrons of Il Giardino d'Italia frequently asked for samples and recipes of his spaghetti sauce, which he often gave to customers in old milk bottles.

As demand grew, in 1928 Boiardi began to use a factory to keep up with orders. It was at this time that he set his sights on selling his product nationally, touting the low cost of his spaghetti products as a good choice to serve to the entire family. In 1929, the product was introduced to the public. In 1938, the factory was moved to Milton, Pennsylvania, where Boiardi had greater input into the quality control of the ingredients placed into his products. He even grew his own tomatoes and mushrooms in the factory basement for use in his creations. Boiardi was quite proud of his Italian heritage. He sold his products under the brand name “Chef Boy-Ar-Dee,” allowing his American customers to pronounce his name properly, as boy-AR-dee.[1]

Later, he sold his brand to American Home Foods, later International Home Foods, for approximately $6 million out of family concerns about the company's internal growth and its struggling cashflow after having grown so rapidly. Boiardi then took his money and invested a substantial portion in steel mills, which then helped produce goods needed for the Korean war effort. Boiardi's company made and prepared millions of rations for the American and other Allied troops during World War II, and for his efforts he was awarded a gold star order of excellence from the United States War Department. He then helped make new Italian food products for the American market until his death. ConAgra Foods acquired International Home Foods in 2000, and the company continues to use his likeness on Chef Boyardee-brand products.

Boiardi appeared in many print advertisements and television commercials for his brand in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. His last television commercial promoting the brand aired in 1979.


Boiardi died in Parma, Ohio, on June 21, 1985, at the age of 87,[1] and was buried in All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio.[3] At the time of his death, Chef Boyardee products were bringing in USD$500 million per year.

Boiardi's wife Helen survived him by ten years; she died in 1995. At the time of her death, they were survived by their only child, Mario, two grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.[4] Their only son, Mario Boiardi, died on November 24, 2007.[5] Mario Boiardi's children and grandchildren were not known to have sought their fortunes in cooking as of September of 2009.[citation needed] HOEE!!


  1. ^ a b c UPI story (June 23, 1985), "Hector Boiardi Is Dead: Began Chef Boy-ar-dee", The New York Times, pp. Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 28, Column 4, retrieved 2007-07-11  “Hector Boiardi, founder of Chef Boy-ar-dee Foods, one of the first packaged Italian food businesses in the nation, died Friday night after a short illness. He was 87 years old.” “His company was first called Chef Boiardi, but Mr. Boiardi found that customers and salesmen had difficulty pronouncing his name, so he changed the brand name to the phonetic spelling, ‘Boy-ar-dee.’” “He came to the United States in 1917 and worked at hotels in New York and Greenbrier, W.Va., where he directed the catering at the reception for President Woodrow Wilson's second marriage,”
  2. ^ http://www.clevelandart.org/Kids/story/people/boiardi.html
  3. ^ Vigil, Vicki Blum (2007). Cemeteries of Northeast Ohio: Stones, Symbols & Stories. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59851-025-6
  4. ^ Anonymous (July 7, 1995), "Helen J. Boiardi, 90; Started Line of Pasta", The New York Times, retrieved 2007-07-11  “Mrs. Boiardi is survived by a son, Mario, of Queenstown, Md.; two sisters, a brother, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.”
  5. ^ "Mario J. Boiardi '44, TAPS" (HTML). Valley Forge Military Academy & College. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2009-03-02.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)


Further reading

Bellamy, Gail Ghetia (2003). Cleveland Food Memories. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-886228-79-5