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A Baking Bunch on Reality TV

"Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro talks (bake) shop.

Posted June 8, 2009 by Alicia Staffa

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Cake Boss Buddy Valastro
Buddy Valastro, center, with his crew outside the Hoboken bakery, where the TLC show Cake Boss is shot.
Courtesy of TLC.

Buddy Valastro stands in front of a rotating platter, spatula in hand, applying vanilla icing to a six-tiered birthday cake. It’s a typical scene at Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken. Add three cameramen, a producer, and mikes, and the recipe yields TLC’s new reality show, Cake Boss.

“I come to work and laugh; sometimes I scream,” says Valastro. “I always thought it would be funny if I had cameras in here to show America what we do.”

The series, which premiered on May 25, follows Valastro and his crew through a busy season of elaborate wedding cakes, delivery mishaps, and special requests from the bakery’s steady stream of customers.

“It’s not staged; I just do what I normally do,” says Valastro, 32 and a resident of East Hanover. For the season premiere, the team created a 34-inch-wide, 3-foot-tall cake for a retired firefighter. It featured a burning building, fire engine, and firefighters—all edible. Valastro ran electric wires into the cake through straws  to power the smoke effects and flashing lights. For another customer, he devised a wedding cake with a hidden cage for a pair of live doves, which emerged on cue to the delight of guests.

For thirteen episodes, viewers will watch personalities clash and tension levels soar in the bake shop. To a large degree, that’s because almost everyone who works at Carlo’s is family. “TLC loves the fact that there is a family dynamic,” says Valastro, who works alongside his mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, and cousins. “It’s family television.”

Carlo’s has been in the Valastro family since Buddy Sr.  purchased the bakery from Carlo Guastaffero in 1964. When Buddy Sr. passed away in 1994, the reins were handed to Buddy, his son.

“My father made me understand the value of a dollar,” says Valastro, who started at the bakery by cleaning the bathroom. “I am not the kind of guy to cut corners. If we do it, we do it right.”

That work ethic has paid off. Carlo’s typically makes 20 to 40 wedding cakes per weekend and as many as 300  to 600 birthday cakes every week. Then there are the regular demands of the bakery, with customers flocking in for crumb cake, cannoli, and a variety of cookies and pastries. “With the show airing, we are probably going to get crazier, and I am a little scared about supply and demand,” says Valastro, who already works twelve- to eighteen-hours, six days a week. He spends his little free time with his wife, Lisa, and young children, Marco, Buddy, and Sofia.

“I definitely want to pass [the bakery] on to my children,” says Valastro. “By the same token, it’s a very hard life, so I will give them the option.”

Catch Cake Boss on TLC every Monday at 10 pm.

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Dude i am a big fan i want to work at ur bakery when im older ur so cool

Posted by: Eli, GrantsPass | Nov 27, 2009 07:09:58 AM |


I want to meet u one day i luv to cook and i want to go to culunary skewl and im only 14.Please let me work at your bakery! :)

Posted by: Curtis Brown, West Palm Beach | Dec 02, 2009 03:01:45 AM |

Your Tour

My Isabella is only 5 years old, and after meeting you today at the book signing- she could not stop talking about you really are her Superhero! thank you for being so GENUINE, you are truly a blessing!

Posted by: Ana Saucedo, Denver, CO | Nov 16, 2010 03:46:32 AM |


Hi Buddy, My 6 yrs old accidently turn on your show just yesterday and to make a long story short we ended up watching like 6 shows. My 8 yr.old ended up watching it too!.. We all love it and my boys went back to school this morning for the first time this yr. and they’ve had thier days and nights mixed up anyway told them if they get ready and if theres time we would turn Cake Boss on till it’s time to go to school. They got ready and we watched as much as we could.They want to watch more after they get out of school today. Thanks so much for your help here..Its a really good show and you seemed like a really nice person.(Down to earth kind of Guy):) My 8 yr old is now planning a party for Feb. and he want me to make him a fancy cake. We are enjoying your shows. Thanks and just wanted to share that with you. Angie, Ethan & Noah Lovell from Ringgold, Ga P.S your little boy is so cute!!!

Posted by: angie Lovell, Ringgold,Ga | Jan 18, 2011 15:51:39 PM |

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