The culinary world has lost a local legend.
Tomaso Maggiore, founder and patriarch of Scottsdale-based restaurant group The Maggiore Group, died at 73 following a two-year battle with brain and lung cancer.
“Tomaso was not only my father, but my idol and his love and passion for the restaurant industry, cooking and Sicily will continue to live on through our restaurants,” said Joey Maggiore, executive chef of The Maggiore Group.
Mr. Maggiore was born and raised in Sicily, the southern region of Italy.
In September 1977, he and his wife, Patricia, opened their first restaurant on the Camelback Corridor, Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant.
Since, Mr. Maggiore has been a culinary icon in the Valley for more than four decades.
He has not only launched more than 50 restaurants in Arizona and California, but served more than 2 million customers, created 27,000 jobs and stirred up more than 49,000 pots of his famous marinara.
“It is my goal to honor his legacy and make him proud with amazing restaurants and delectable food,” Joey said.
Mr. Maggiore has led and conceptualized several now-popular, now-favored Valley restaurants alongside his son Joey, including Hash Kitchen, The Sicilian Butcher and The Sicilian Baker.
He created his own fine wine – Southern Italy Red, Luxus Reserva – with grapes sourced from his vineyard in Sicily.
And he has received countless awards over the years, including Best Italian Restaurant in the Valley, Arizona Restaurant Association’s “Food Pioneer Award,” and dozens of top chef awards, among other accolades.
“My father was my hero and inspiration for all I do,” said Melissa Maggiore Meyer, who is fondly known as the female version of her dad. “My love for food, travel, people and the joy a great meal can bring to your life is derived from the example my father set for me.”
To pay homage to her father, Meyer plans to open a concept on Pinnacle Peak and Scottsdale Road named The Italian Daughter.
“I will be sure to live the rest of my life honoring his memory, continuing his legacy and making him proud. His absence in my life will be forever profound.”
The Maggiore family will continue to operate the Italian institution that Mr. Maggiore built over the decades and plan to launch a scholarship in his honor, called The Tomaso Maggiore Culinary Education Scholarship.
The family does request that any monetary donations be held for the scholarship until details are released later.
“The family would also like to send a special thanks to Susan and Bill Levine with Hospice of the Valley for the amazing Celestial Care provided to Tomaso during his final days,” a press release stated.
While Mr. Maggiore was passionate about food, his family brought the greatest joy in his life.
He is survived by Patricia; Joey and his wife, Cristina; Melissa and her husband, Kevin; and five grandchildren: Marcella, Guiliana, Tomaso, Melina and Francesco.
“He is the greatest father, chef and friend that I have ever known and I will love and miss him dearly, forever,” Joey said.