Best Buddy: Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Tells All
By Andrea Bosco
Name a scent, spice, or aroma, and Buddy Valastro has fête flashbacks. He recalls waking up “to all that food” and his mother, Mary, making a Thanksgiving turkey, an Easter lamb, and Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve. “It’s funny how those kinds of smells resonate to this day,” says the Cake Boss. A fourth-generation baker, whose roots reside in Sicily, Valastro is a loyal husband and father of four who discovered his dream job at 11 years old. At 17, his father passed away, and he felt called to action to carry on the family business.
Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J. is where all the sweet magic happens. The 55,000-square-foot facility’s staff produces 50 to 100 wedding cakes and 300 to 600 birthday cakes weekly, and delivers within 60 miles of the confectionery. Valastro says he wants to come through to his fans with shipping requests across the country, but aims to perfect the packaging first — possibly by this holiday season.
When Valastro returns to the Benedum Center stage for his Homemade for the Holidays Tour, November 28, the audience can expect a performance that’s revamped and “amped.” The show is brand new, with a few recurring favorites, including demonstrations, audience participation, and, of course, storytelling, says Valastro.
“Pittsburgh is always on my tour list,” he says, noting Primanti’s as one of his “fast-food” favorites. “Whether it’s for an appearance at Giant Eagle Market District or my show, I always receive such an overwhelming response from the city — it makes me feel so good.”
Though he’s perpetually busy filming multiple shows, including Next Great Baker, which airs November 26, releasing his third book, and traveling, he says he’s always there for his wife and children. “We spend a lot of time together. They love me. I feel blessed.”
For the aspiring baker, the Boss says there are three things every kitchen crafter needs: a turntable, a pastry bag, and a rolling pin. And, for those seeking inspiration, he says, “Don’t give up. Follow your dreams. I’m proof it can happen. I’ve never given up on myself, and I’ve always pushed myself to the limit. Be honest. Good things happen to good people.”
His encouraging words convey his kind, driven demeanor, especially during a difficult time — his mother was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Valastro has created the Momma Mary Foundation, with a goal of giving back to those in need and finding a cure.