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Chef Boyardee , 2011

by John Lajba


Mediums: Bronze

Owner: ConAgra

Additional Information: The task of bringing Chef Boyardee to life fell to Omaha sculptor John Lajba. Chef Boyardee isn't a cartoon or a corporate creation, Lajba said. “He was a human being.” Parents and grandparents might remember when the man himself appeared in most of the brand's television commercials. Hector Boiardi — he went by “Boy-ar-dee” because it was easier for Americans to pronounce — was a hotel chef and restaurateur before he opened a packaged Italian foods company in the 1920s. Boiardi died in 1985 at 87. ConAgra Foods acquired the company in 2000. Lajba used many photos of Boiardi for reference. “He was a man who had a lot of class and a lot of charm.”

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