The story behind the sauce

“The Bongiovi Brand Pasta Sauce is the main thing in the family tradition,” says Mr. John Bongiovi Sr. (short “Mr. B»).

Mr. B was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and grew up there with his brother. During this time, the brothers became well acquainted with pasta sauces. Even then, Mr. B, how the sauce was prepared.Because traditionally in Italy it was the case that the sauce was cooked and served for every occasion. The recipe for the pasta sauce dates back to 1890 and was passed down from his father, Louis's parents. A few years later, the grandparents brought the recipe to America from the area southwest of the coastal town of Sciacca in Sicily.

“Back then, my family used garden-fresh tomatoes,” says Mr. B, «ma grandmother had her own garden and also her own chickens».
The sauce, a staple of the Bongiovi family's Italian-American cuisine, was the basis of most meals in the household.

The young Mr. B, whose favorite dish was chicken caccia tore, worked in a barber shop and trained as a plumber. After high school, he joined the Marines and served three years at Camp Lejeune and in Virginia. Towards the end of his service as a maintenance engineer on military bases, he met Marine communications specialist Carol Sharkey. After marriage, Mr. B entered the hairdressing profession and worked in New Jersey for many years. He says that the personal relationship with each client has shaped his thinking: “It's about relationships, because behind the hairdresser's chair he is the psychologist, the lawyer and the listener. It's always about the customer." The conclusion he took away from these years was: “Communicate with people and learn something valuable from others.”

Mr. B says when they started their family, they added some other things to the basic sauce and moved on to different dishes.

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The first of their three sons: John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. (Artist name 'Jon Bon Jovi') was named after his father. Sons Anthony and Matthew followed shortly afterwards. While the Bongiovi boys grew up in Sayreville, New Jersey, the traditions of their grandparents and great-grandparents continued. Together with friends and family members, they often gathered to eat pasta.

“Pasta is a staple food – and fills people up,” says Anthony (middle brother). «That's what we do. We're Italians after all» Adds Jon Bon Jovi!

"There's this picture of me cooking at the stove," says Mr. b about the process that took four hours - just for cooking, let alone the preparation which also took hours.
Anthony says: «Yes, that was the Sunday tradition. We had the sauce with meals all week long - sometimes just with different shaped pasta." After his marriage, he says: «We started adding different ingredients to create variety. But we never forgot that it was my family's sauce. I was really the one who was more interested in cooking».

In a personal interview, Anthony says: "Both my parents worked and there was a time when I had to learn how to make the sauce, I was probably in my early 20s." But the teamwork in the Bongiovi family is evident in many ways. He was asked how Mr. B promoted? He laughed and said: “When I cooked, they cleaned up.”
Anthony's wish was to attend cooking school: "I've wanted to go to cooking school for a while because I've always loved cooking as a hobby."

It was common to have friends over to enjoy pasta and sauce. The Bongiovi family always sat down together for dinner. “We all stayed at home and gathered around the table,” explains Anthony, “dinner was important to us. We have never lost sight of tradition. "So we always knew where everyone was at that moment," says Anthony, adding to the pre-dinner tradition: "Dad came out the back door and whistled," he says, "I mean, it was a whistle , which could be heard throughout the neighborhood – literally I ran through the neighborhood to get home. I knew the pasta was on the table!»

One day Jon Bon Jovi celebrated his debut with the Bongiovi Brand Pasta Sauce outside the Bongiovi house. This occurred when Jon's band were in recording sessions and on tour. “I would take sauce—oh, and a few mattresses to Philadelphia where the band was recording,” says Mr. B, because: “Musicians have to eat!”.

“What we did in the kitchen in our family, we did for the band,” says Mr. b

When the boys brought their friends, the band and roadies also came along if there was a concert nearby.
When Anthony joined Jon's touring team to do video production and recording, he just couldn't leave the sauce behind: "I was canning sauce at home and taking it with me on tour." He says he managed to share some of it. “That brought the sauce into the arena when we were around,” Anthony adds.

When Anthony and his father decided to produce the sauce for sale, they thought it might not work at all.
“But the possibility of capturing this magic in the production process,” says Anthony. “I experimented with that and pretty much surprised everyone with my ‘creation’,” he chuckles. “It probably took six years, but now she is loved by many Jon Bon Jovi fans!”