More often than not, a product mascot is a figment of the imagination of some advertising executive. But once in a while, you get the real deal, such as Ettore Boiardi, better known by the phonetic spelling of his last name, Chef Boyardee.
Boiardi opened his first Italian restaurant in 1926, in Cleveland, OH. And apparently his sauce was so good that people started to ask if they could buy portions of it to bring home with them. He complied as best he could, but the demand was great. It wasn’t long before he couldn’t fill the plentiful orders from his meager kitchen so he opened a factory, began offering a complete line of easy-to-make and inexpensive dinners, and altered his name to the version we know today.
If there was one thing that the good chef wasn’t, it was camera-shy. When television became popular, he cheerfully starred in his own commercials, pitching his products for over three decades. Here’s an example:
We’re pretty certain that a good segment of our readers have a little Chef Boyardee experience under their belts. So why don’t you tell us about those childhood memories of eating Mr. Boiardi’s cooking in our comments section, as we celebrate this shining example of the American dream.