Alfred Lepore, whose company Ferrara was one of the Specialty Food Association’s founding members, has passed away at the age of 81. Ferrara, which started out as a small Italian bakery, was founded in 1892 by Alfred’s great uncle, who then passed it down to Alfred’s father, and in the 1960’s, to Alfred and his brother Anthony. As president of Ferrara from 1966 to 2006, Alfred expanded the availability of imported Italian foods in the United States and fostered American production of Italian products.
Alfred served as the board chair for the Specialty Food Association from 1980 to 1982 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SFA in 2015 for his role in bringing Italian products to the U.S.
“Alfred Lepore could be called the grandfather of Italian food in the U.S.,” says Ron Tanner, vice president of education, government, and industry relations for the Specialty Food Association. “Not only did the Ferrara Pasticceria introduce Americans to the joys of espresso and cannolis, but Alfred used the brand to bring Italian pasta, panettone, San Marzano tomatoes, and other staples of Italian cuisine to the U.S.”
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