It’s all about family for Buddy Valastro. Buddy, better known as TLC’s Cake Boss, runs what’s become easily the most renowned bakery in Hoboken, NJ (and probably in the entire New York City metro area), stars in the hit reality TV show “Cake Boss” and is a bestselling author. And he’s done it with the help of his parents, sisters and extended family. Growing up as his father’s most dedicated bakery student, Valastro never suspected that he would find himself running the family business in his teens. But that’s what happened at age 17, after his father’s sudden death in 1994. Now, Valastro is still in the driver seat, assisted by his mother and four older sisters and their husbands. Carlo’s Bakery had always been busy during its 101 years of existence, but Valastro’s talent and clients’ changing tastes have driven the bakery to new heights. “Cake Boss” premiered in 2009 and quickly became a hit. Valastro, now 34, penned an autobiography last fall and the book shot up to number four on The New York Times bestseller list. Business is booming so much that the Carlo’s team has bought a large warehouse and are figuring out how to market and ship their unique wedding cakes further than a van ride away. Now, Valastro is bringing the Cake Boss experience from the kitchen to the theater, hitting the stage at Akron’s Civic Theatre on March 27 for a demonstration. Buzzbin caught up with him last week to talk about the show. “It’s an interactive show that’s good for anyone, from a four-year-old to a grandmother. It’s set to music and is very fast-paced,” he said. The show will include a competition between audience members onstage, a Q&A session and a funny finale. After the show, Valastro will be doing a meet-and-greet. “Meeting my fans — that’s what really makes it for me,” he said. Valastro credits Carlo’s success and subsequent fame to the bakery’s ability to make creative and unusual wedding cakes. “People don’t want traditional cakes anymore,” he said. “Other bakers can’t do it.” Well before the TV show, Valastro was winning awards for Best Baker and Best Wedding Cake Maker. His work has been featured in over 200 publications. One of Valastro’s most spectacular creations featured on the show was a thousand-pound life-size NASCAR cake. It took an elaborate support system to hold all the weight; even so, the front end had to be redone three times. Another was a toilet with actual flushing water. “I wish they could have shown the mechanism inside that one,” Valastro said. Sound like a job for an engineer? Maybe so, but Valastro doesn’t call anyone in. “You’re talking to the engineer right here. I believe that I can do it and I do it.” Most importantly, how can someone running a successful, expanding business, touring, writing and starring in his own reality series still has enough time for his wife and kids? “I’ve never felt closer to my children,” Valastro said. “Even before I was the Cake Boss I was working six or seven days a week, 11, 12 hours a day. We don’t always have choices to have as much time as we want. But whatever I do I do for my kids, I do it for the cakes and I do it for my sisters.” For an evening of food and fun, plan on catching the Cake Boss live at Akron’s Civic Theatre on March 27. For tickets, go to www.akroncivic.com.
Written By Nicholas Saddleton