Behind the scenes with the ‘Cake Boss’
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – For “Cake Boss” reality television star Buddy Valastro, it’s all about famiglia.
The fourth-generation baker owns and manages Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J., along with his big Italian family: his mother, sisters, brothers-in-law and a few cousins. His wife, Lisa, works at the front counter.
Viewers of the TLC program see the antics – his sister Mary eating a poisonous flower because she doubts it’s harmful – as well as the softer side of the family, like when Valastro painstakingly recreates an authentic tiramisu cake for a man hoping to make his Italian in-laws feel at home.
Valastro’s upcoming tour, which appears at 8 p.m. Thursday at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, will focus on the man behind the cable TV show: the devoted husband and father of three (with another on the way) who loves his “Ma,” wears a St. Anthony medal that’s been in the family for generations and jumps to help anyone in need.
“The show gives people a true perspective of who I am,” Valastro said. “The show is an addition to (the reality show), my way of going around the country and telling my story.”
Valastro’s book, “Cake Boss: The Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia,” was released Nov. 2. Part biography, part cookbook, it tells the story of the Valastro family, starting with his family’s roots in Sicily; his grandfather’s abandonment of the family for a new life in America; and his father’s eventual journey to New Jersey, where he found success at Carlo’s Bake Shop and was a devoted and present father who taught his family that with hard work, anything is possible.
“My father wanted me to be a great father because his dad had let him down,” Valastro writes in his book. “I want to be a great father to live up to my dad’s example. When I come through, I feel like I’m honoring him as well as my own kids.”
Valastro’s father, Buddy Valastro Sr., died at the age of 54. Buddy Jr. dropped out of high school and took over Carlo’s Bake Shop.
The recipes are the same ones that have been passed down in the family, from the laborious lobster tails to his father’s traditional tiramisu. But one thing this year will be different: For the first time in 100 years, the staff of Carlo’s Bake Shop will spend Christmas with their families.
“The show has provided more opportunity,” Valastro said. “This Christmas will be the first Christmas Day that Carlo’s Bake Shop has been closed for 100 years. I just put a stop to it. I want to enjoy that family day.”
Valastro added, “I do feel bad for the patrons, through.”