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Erasmo Aiello HONOREE 2018

Erasmo Aiello, or as some know him, Orazio Aiello, is the owner of Palermo Bakery and a professional tenor. Erasmo got his start in the bakery business working in the family bakery in Sicily in the town of Isola delle Femmine, where Erasmo was born. The bakery had been started by his great great grandfather and was passed down from generation to generation. Although the bakery is no longer run by Erasmo’s family, the bakery still stands in his home town next door to his childhood home.

At the age of 8, Erasmo was already a fully trained baker, providing the town with fresh bread every day, all the while being a full time student. After several years of working in the bakery, Erasmo found time to join a local gym and began training to become an amateur boxer. Even though he had no days off from the bakery, Erasmo had a strong boxing career and became Sicilian Lightweight Champion by the age of 16.

In 1982, Erasmo decided to immigrate to the United States and lived in Manhattan for 2 years. During that time, Erasmo continued to work with bread in the form of pizza. Erasmo tossed pizza pies on Wall Street and served slices for the mob (who just happened to own one of the pizzerias he worked in). While living in New York, Erasmo met his wife, Catherine, who introduced Erasmo to his eventual business partner. Erasmo and his wife decided to move to Monterey, California to open Palermo Bakery with Catherine’s brother-in-law and sister.

Palermo Bakery became a success and still operates today under Erasmo’s management, primarily serving local restaurant, hotel and grocery businesses as well as non-profit organizations. Palermo Bakery is involved in various charities, including Meals on Wheels and Salvation Army.

Erasmo also participates in several local charity events each year, not only devoting time and bread, but also with his opera singing. After an impromptu song sang at a private party, Erasmo was approached by Mike Marotta Sr. and he encouraged Erasmo to sing. Although shy at first, Erasmo has sung at hundreds of events, including weddings and funerals. He is also a fan favorite during the Santa Rosalia Festa Italia, singing both for the mass and during the festival itself in the Monterey plaza.

Other than baking bread and singing opera, Erasmo likes to cook for his family, work in the yard with his fruit and vegetable plants, read books about history. Erasmo and Catherine have four kids. David, 31, is a CPA and lives in San Jose with his wife, DiAnn. Christian, 28, works for the UC Davis hospital and lives in Sacramento with his fiance, Emily. Michaela, 25, is a fifth grade teacher and lives in San Diego. Lauren, 15, is a student at Carmel High School.

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