Master chef Mario DiSalvo reached out to many in need
Master Chef Mario DiSalvo was well known for his contributions to the city of Jeannette in providing a first-class business and for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of those who were down and out.
He was the owner of the former DiSalvo's Restaurant, which was recognized for the quality and presentation of its menu, including classic Italian dishes.
And if there were any employees who aspired to become cooks and chefs, the time they spent in his kitchen was considered an apprenticeship.
Mario A. DiSalvo of Penn Hills died on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011, in UPMC Mercy, Uptown. He was 71.
"One of the young men who worked with my uncle went on to become the chef at the Laurel Valley Country Club," said his nephew, Joseph DiSalvo, a past chairman of the Pennsylvania State Restaurant Association.
Mr. DiSalvo was considered a father figure to his employees, someone who was always ready to listen to their problems, especially if there was illness or a death in their family.
And to those who were down on their luck and didn't have the money for a meal, there was always a hot meal waiting for them, especially on a cold and bitter day, said Joseph DiSalvo.
"I worked with my uncle, my father, Gaetano, and my mother, Rita, in the restaurant while I was in school and they inspired me by their hard work and dedication to continue in the food service industry," he said.
His nephew, ever mindful of his uncle's and his father's humanitarian efforts, sponsors two yearly fundraisers, which he calls "Taste the Good Life," at DiSalvo's Station Restaurant in Latrobe.
"My uncle, my father and many retired cooks and chefs volunteered to do the cooking," said Joseph DiSalvo.
"We hold one in the spring and the other in October. This year the fundraiser is for the Wesley Spectrum -- an organization that provides various services for children with autism.
"My uncle never forgot what this country meant to him when he came to America in 1957 from his home in Gamberale, Italy, and worked in his uncle's restaurant.
"He often said that this was the country that offered him the opportunity to work hard, to raise his family and to go on to have a stellar career in his profession."
In addition to his nephew, Mr. DiSalvo is survived by his wife, Grace Lombardo DiSalvo; children, Mario DiSalvo of Washington, Pa., Angela DiSalvo of Penn Hills and Guido DiSalvo of Baltimore; brother, Gaetano DiSalvo of Greensburg; nephews and nieces, Joseph and Daniel DiSalvo, Anna Maria Friedman, and Filippo, Dante and Erica Lombardo; and great-niece, Elisabetta Friedman.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in St. Susanna Parish, Penn Hills. Arrangements were handled by English Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., Oakmont.