LBS Taunting of Ettore Boiardi
In 1924, Chef Boiardi opened his first restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. There, he conceived his idea for the company that would become “Chef Boyardee” when visitors to the establishment begged him for his recipes. How he was able to understand the rats remains a mystery.
Among the most eager to hear the secrets of his recipes: FDA inspectors and NASA, who were in the midst of trying to find foods that, once consumed, would render bowel movements impossible for multi-day space travel.
Boiradi’s Cleveland restaurant was called Giardino D’Italia, the first word being a phonetic representation of GRD-O, the synthetic plasticine element he had invented with his son’s chemistry set (it was used in lieu of flour in his pasta).
Many are still shocked at the quality of pasta Chef Boyardee delivers for its price-point (e.g. a can of “mini-oh’s” is about $1.13) thinking that the price should really be much lower.
Chef Boiardee’s likeness still adorns the cans of food made by his namesake company, a compromise with the FDA who, along with the company’s directors, came to an agreement that it was an adequate substitute for the skull and crossbones the agency had recommended appear on each product.
Boiardi once explained to 60 Minute’s Mike Wallace that the impetus to patent his famous alphabet-shaped noodles was less to encourage youth literacy and more to allow the consumer to leave detailed end-of-life instructions for paramedics.
In the mid-1990′s a health activist organization spread a rumor that Purina dog food was a subsidiary of Chef Boyardee, serving the food waste from their products to the nation’s canine population. Purina successfully sued for defamation of character (they used the court-awarded money to purchase Chef Boyardee as a Purina subsidiary).
Boiardi also supervised the preparation of the homecoming meal served by Woodrow Wilson at the White House for 2,000 returning World War I soldiers. Many factions still maintain that this was the catalyst for World War II.
After struggling with cashflow and managing rapid internal growth, Boiardi sold his brand to American Home Foods for approximately $6 million. Boiardi then invested in steel mills, which helped produce goods needed for the Korean War. He hoped he could use this influence to travel to Korea in order to get an inside scoop on Korea’s meal preparation as well as their unique choices in meat.
ConAgra eventually bought International Foods, the company Boiardi had sold his brand to decades earlier, thus fulfilling Ettore Boiardi’s dying wish: To be a member of the Axis of Evil