Commercializing the clambake
He would know: his grandfather, chef John J. Comella, helped kickstart the clambake as we now know it in Cleveland by formalizing the menu and making the bakes more accessible and portable through the family catering business.
"We feel that my grandfather really said, 'OK, here's the clams, half-chicken, ear of corn, sweet potato, rolls and butter, coleslaw. Let's put it all together,'" Young says. "He loved to cook, loved to talk about food, loved to talk about making people happy through cooking food. He did a lot with churches, a lot to educate."
By all accounts, Comella developed this passion early. He spent his childhood in San Francisco shadowing his own father, a fisherman and produce dealer. The family eventually moved to Cleveland; sadly, Comella's father passed away when he was 12. The young man shouldered the responsibility to support his family during the Depression -- first by selling waffles from a wagon, and then by peddling clams and oysters. Interestingly, his "first love" was actually baseball, Young notes: "[He] actually was going to play for the Indians, but couldn't pull it off because his family was totally dependent on him."