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Meet The Bakery Boss!'

February 4, 2014
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Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro

Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro gives back on new show      

 In the land of custom specialty cakes, Buddy Valastro of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey is not only 'The Boss,' he is king.  

With 147 episodes aired since 2009,  Valastro's TLC reality show, 'Cake Boss,' has become a weekly appointment for millions of viewers who can't wait to see what the master baker and his family crew will come up with next.  

The global exposure offered by 'Cake Boss' has allowed Valastro to expand his territory to bake shops in four other New Jersey cities as well as a 'Cake Boss Caf' in Manhatten.  He has a new location opening soon in Las Vegas (across from Valastro's Italian restaurant, 'Buddy V's Ristorante) and there is also a seagoing version of the bakery on Norwegian Cruise Line's 'Norwegian Breakaway.'  The baking business has been very good for the 'Cake Boss.'  

In that spirit, Valastro is giving back by helping to save struggling family bakeries across the country on his new TLC series, 'Bakery Boss' a show that Valastro says he's wanted to do for several years. Each episode features an ailing bakery that has contacted Buddy for help via www.BakeryBossCasting.com.

cake boss

On 'Bakery Boss,' Valastro combines his knowledge of baking excellence with proven business expertise to identify problems and convince the owners that change must occur if the bakery is to succeed.  He then works with them to see those changes through.  

Buddy's suggested changes on 'Bakery Boss' usually involve a menu overhaul, and we see him working in the kitchen with the owners and bake staff to teach them how to create new offerings, often utilizing his own recipes.  

The bakery is given an astonishing make-over inside and out. State of the art mixers, ovens, refrigerators and freezers replace antiquated equipment . Floors are redone, dcor redesigned and store-fronts refurbished. Valastro spends time with these people to learn their family history before his design crew personalizes the renovation with touches unique to the bakery.   

These makeovers, paid for by the show, are met with tears of surprise and joy from families who realize that this is probably their last opportunity to make the bakery a success.   

'Bakery Boss' is not without tension and drama. As Buddy reveals in the following interview (conducted on Jan. 21), some of the bakeries are resistant to change. So far on the show, viewers have seen a river of tears, panic attacks and even a 'storm-out' as cameras rolled. We see Buddy devise a plan to bring everyone together to work through problems and unite as a team before leading them into the future and the re-launch of the bakery. 

At the end of each episode, we see an update on how the bakery is adjusting, usually taped two or three months after the changes have been incorporated.

cake boss

Ten episodes of 'Bakery Boss' have been produced to date with new episodes airing each Monday at 10 p.m. following new episodes of 'Cake Boss' at 9 p.m. on TLC.  

About Buddy's specialty cakes: These are exquisite, one-of-a-kind works of art. On 'Cake Boss,' Valastro is limited only by his imagination which, as viewers know, is virtually limitless.

When a customer walks through the door of Carlo's Bakery for a cake consultation, Valastro's wheels start turning with delicious and often outrageous possibilities. Immediately, the viewer is drawn into Buddy's world as we watch him begin with a rough idea and finish with a specialty cake that wows the viewer, surpasses the expectations of his customer and honors the memory of his father, Bartolo Valastro Sr.,by carrying on the good name of Carlo's Bakery.  

Many episodes of 'Cake Boss' are as much about family as they are about cakes, cannolis, cookies and pastries. 'Famiglia' is an essential element of 'Cake Boss' because Buddy's family is integral to the daily operation of Carlo's Bakery. Buddy's four sisters, Grace, Lisa, Mary and Maddalena and his beloved mother, Mary, are seen on the show just being themselves.  

Viewers share Valastro-family laughter, food and joy. And when things are hard, the cameras are there, too. During the filming of season 5 in 2012, Buddy's mother learned that she has ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The painful news hit the family deeply and drew them even closer together. From time to time, viewers receive an update on Mary's condition as they see Buddy pour himself into his work with more intensity than ever his coping mechanism.       

Dow: In addition to everything you do at Carlo's Bakery, you manage to do  'Cake Boss,' your new series, 'Bakery Boss,' as well as shows 'The Next Great Baker' and 'Kitchen Boss.' How do you do it all?  

cake boss

Valastro: You have to take it one show at a time, day by day. Whatever you're doing, you have to focus all of your heart and energy into it and know that you're doing good content that families can enjoy together. The reward for me is seeing that people enjoy this family and that we're making good shows that people can enjoy as a family. It's good TV, not trash TV.

Dow: Let's talk about your new show, 'Bakery Boss.' What are some common problems that you've encountered so far as you travel around the country to help struggling family bakeries?  

Valastro: A lot of them just don't want to change with the times. They think they know better. You have to be willing to adapt to survive with the new trends and what's going on today. Some of the problems have to do with business. You have to be a smart businessperson to make it work. A lot of the family bakeries that I go into might be having problems or disagreements between partners or brothers. Sometimes I feel like Dr. Phil when I help them try to figure out what's going on other than the bakery problems. These people have everything on the line. They have their homes; everything they've ever worked for.  

Some of them even have their parent's money on the line. The guy in last night's episode (Drew from 'Drew's Pastry Place' in Houston, TX) had $600,000 of his parents' money into the bakery. It's one thing to risk your own money, but it's another when you're working with your parents' money.    

(Note:  In that episode, Drew Rogers' bakery offered mostly traditional Italian baked goods in an area where cupcakes are extremely popular.  Valastro spent most of the episode trying to convince Rogers that he needed to cater to his customers or else the business would die.)

Drew thought he was right and finally - they didn't show this on air - but I grabbed him and said 'Listen, Drew. You called me. I didn't call you. You're losing $8,000 a month. Apparently, something's wrong. Take a step back and give it a shot.' I finally got through to him to make him realize what had to be done.  I'm not there to beat up on people. I don't want to make them feel dumb or yell and scream at them. It's about putting things into perspective for them.  

cake boss

The story of 'Cake Boss' and how I became 'Cake Boss' has been an ongoing thing for the last 20 years. I didn't just wake up one day and suddenly become the 'Cake Boss.' I took over my father's bakery (Carlo's Bakery has been an institution since 1910. Buddy's father acquired the bakery in 1964. Mr. Valastro passed away in 1994 when Buddy was 17. A longtime apprentice of his father's, Buddy took over the family business at that time). I wanted to do cakes that were more innovative and creative. I pushed and taught myself and did them. Once I became good at it, I did everything I could to get on local TV and local magazines. From magazines I got onto a network challenge. It's been a progression for all these years. You have to do the same for your business.  

Dow: You and your team have come up with many incredible specialty cakes over the years. Do you have a favorite?  

Valastro: My favorite was the Transformer cake (a gorgeous 2,000 pound Bumblebee Camaro cake from season 4 of 'Cake Boss' in 2011. The stunningly delectable monstrosity was created to celebrate the Chevy Camaro and the movie 'Transformers:  Dark Side of the Moon'). To me it was the most challenging cake. I was like 'I just can't believe it.' It was 4 in the morning and I'll never forget it. We had to deliver that cake at 7 a.m. at the Javits Center (during the New York International Autoshow). I stepped back, looked at it and cried. I said, 'I wish my dad was here to see what I made.' You know the level that we've taken it to. I knew that he would be so proud and so wowed by it. That cake has definitely got a special place in my heart.  

cake boss

Dow: Have you ever had a cake idea that turned out to be a total disaster?  

Valastro: (Laughs) Actually, this upcoming week of 'Cake Boss' is exactly that. This lady wanted me to do a cake for a guy and she told me that he's like a 'human garbage disposal he'll eat anything.' So it was her idea to kind of incorporate a garbage disposal. You know what? It sounded better in theory it didn't come out as hot as I would have liked it. Even though I'm the 'Cake Boss,' there are cakes that we make where I'm like, 'Oh man, that wasn't a good job,' or 'How did we let that slip?' It's easy to look back in retrospect, but when you're in the middle of it, sometimes you have blinds, you know? If you watch it, you'll see what I mean.  

Dow: Regular viewers know that family is incredibly important to you. Has the success of your shows affected your family life or your relationship with your mother and sisters?  

Valastro: If anything, we're even closer. It's not something that we think about. It's just a way of life for us, you know? I think people realize that it's not phony it's not made-up for TV. There are days where I want to strangle my sisters, but you know what? They're my sisters and I'm the only one who can say that. It's that real bond that I think people have with their own family that they relate to. I think the reason the show has been successful is because we are who we are. Whether the show stays, goes or whatever, our family dynamics will never change. 

Dow: Your mom, Mary, is such a sweetheart. How is she doing these days?  

Valastro: Thank you for asking. Honestly, the prayers and the overwhelming support from the fans all over the world have been amazing and have meant so much to her. ALS is a horrible, debilitating disease. She's doing as well as she can. It's a slow-progressing form of ALS, which is good but it's a very tough thing. The only thing I can ask is that people keep up the prayers and the love and support. That means a lot to her.  

Dow: Everywhere you go, people know who you are. Do you enjoy the fame or do you sometimes wish you could have some of your privacy back?  

cake boss

Valastro: That's a good question. To be honest with you, the people who are my fans are typically families. It's not like they're stalking me or there's paparazzi everywhere I go. When I see a kid and they're so excited to see me and they'll say 'Can I take a picture? I love you' and I'll give them a hug - their heart is pounding and they're looking at you like you're Superman. You know what? I want to be Superman for that kid. I'll always stop to take a picture. For the most part, people are very respectful and unobtrusive. I feel like it's part of what you do when you sign up for this. These are the people who make you.   

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.7 (Bangor/Belfast), 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor)

   

  

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 19:55

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