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You may have a can of his product in your pantry right now. Italian immigrant Hector Boiardi opened a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio in 1924. This was just after he left his position as head chef at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The idea for Chef Boyardee came to him after customers began asking for the spaghetti sauce he served in his restaurant. He began selling it in milk bottles and in 1928 opened a factory in Milton, PA where he could grow his own tomatoes and mushrooms. He decided to use his name for the company, but changed the spelling so Americans would pronounce it correctly. Instead of Boiardi he spelled it BOYARDEE. The first product was ready to heat spaghetti kit. The US Army commissioned the company to make rations during World War II which had the factory working 24 hours a day, employing over 5,000 and producing over 250,000 cans per day during the peak. In 1946, after the war, Boiardi sold the company rather that fire all the employees. He remained a consultant and spokesperson until 1978. Boiardi died of natural causes on June 21, 1985, at age 87 in his home of Parma, Ohio.