Meet chef Buddy Valastro, pastry artist and owner of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J. For Buddy Valastro, 34, mixing eggs, sugar, butter, and flour means a lot more than "making a cake." As a fourth-generation baker, it’s a constant source of pleasure, pride, and creativity. Creating amazing cakes connects Valastro with the memory of his father Buddy Sr. and his extended Italian family history. His talent and passion for the family business, Carlo’s Bakery, has earned the straight-talking cake expert the moniker, and TLC TV show Cake Boss. We had the pleasure to spend some time with Valastro and his family in their Lackawanna Bakery as we planned for an event we are working on with him and his team.
Direct from the Cake Boss himself, we learned what drives Valastro's passion for the pastry business and what makes him tick.
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a pastry chef/baker? What influenced you to do so?
Buddy Valastro: My father was my biggest influence. He taught me everything I know about baking and business. When I was 17 years old my father passed and I took over the bakery. I worked to make Carlo’s a staple in Hoboken and I’m still working to make it bigger and better.
JL: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring baker or pastry chef, what would you say?
BV: Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only thing that will get you where you want to be.
JL: How has Cake Boss on TLC changed your life and the bakery?
BV: The show has been great. I always knew I wanted to grow Carlo’s into a household name and the show is part of that. Life is busy, but it always is when you work with family! Now we have a few more people around with cameras, but they’re like family to us anyway.
JL: How many employees do you now have at Carlo's and how has Lackawanna changed the business?
BV: Right now we’ve got about 170 employees all together, some at Carlo’s in Hoboken and some at Lackawanna. Lackawanna has allowed me to expand the business in a big way with more space and tools to tackle the volume we’re doing. Soon enough, I’m hoping to achieve another of my goals, shipping nationwide.