We traveled to Hoboken, N.J. to Carlo’s Bakery. We met the “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro! Before interviewing him, we watched his staff put the designs into action and turn them into amazing cakes. It was a great day. He told us that he was just 11 when he first starting helping his dad in the bakery.
Do you enjoy working with your family?
Yes, I do. Sometimes, it’s a little bit of a struggle, but at the end of the day, there’s nobody better than family to work with because they’ve got your back.
We know you enjoyed working with your father, but did you ever consider a different career?
No. I loved working with my father. I never considered a different career. I could honestly say I was one of the lucky people in life that, when I was 13 or 12 years old, they said, I really want to be a baker, and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
When it’s time for your birthday, what do you want to have for your celebration? Do you want cake?
Honestly, usually my wife and kids always make me a cake for my birthday. They’ve actually upped the ante over the years. This year, I think my wife made me a four-tiered cake at home with my kids. So my kids baked me a cake, and it was really, really awesome.
What is your favorite cake, and what is the most common cake you make?
My favorite type of cake is my father’s cream puff cake. It’s really delicious, and the most common cake is our vanilla cake.
What is the hardest cake you ever made, and why?
The hardest cake I ever made was by far the NASCAR cake, just because of the pure size of it and the time constraints. We had three days to make a cake the size of a car. It weighed about 20,000 pounds. And there’s no book on how to do it. It’s trial and error.
How do you handle customers that have a different idea in mind and don’t want your design?
That usually doesn’t happen too much. I am the “Cake Boss,” but sometimes you always try to be patient. The customer is always right, but with them always being right, I will give my opinion. So if you tell me I want blue polka dots on it, I’ll say I’ll do it for you, but I think it’s going to look ugly. I give you my opinion. If inevitably that’s what you really want, unless it was something really obscene or I something I really couldn’t stand, then I would say, “listen, I’m not the guy to make the cake for you.”
What has been your worst mess-up?
My worst mess-up. There’s been so many. Somebody left a walk-in box door open the day after we finished filming season 2, and five wedding cakes got ruined. We had to make five wedding cakes in four hours. And they were big wedding cakes.
Did you even consider opening a second bakery somewhere else?
I have considered that, and maybe in the future we will. But we’ll see what happens.
On Long Island?
Yeah, you got it.
Do you show your cakes off like people show their kids off?
Yeah I do. I got pictures of my cakes. I ain’t going to lie. I got pictures of my cakes, and I carry them on my phone or on my iPad. I always love to show people what I got or what I did.
Do you have a script for the show?
No. I wish we did; it would be a lot easier. For every episode of “Cake Boss,” we film 90 hours for 22 minutes of footage. Tell me about it.
Would you want your kids to someday take over the bakery, and are they interested in baking?
Right now, my three kids are very interested in coming here and baking and helping me. I would love for them to take over the business, if this is what they want to do. I want to give them all the opportunity and chance to go to school, go do whatever they want, and the doors are always open here for them. It’s up to them, really.
What do your kids think about being on TV?
My kids are very excited that I’m on TV. They say my dad’s the “Cake Boss.” The new summer promo is on where I’m swimming in the pool and stuff, and every time my son Marco sees it, he says “Daddy, you’re on TV.” He goes and watches the TV. It’s funny.
Do you find it exciting to come to work every day?
I do find it exciting coming to work every day. I love coming here. My day doesn’t really feel complete. Sometimes, I find myself on my day off passing by just to grab a cup of coffee or walk through.
What is your favorite pastry that you sell?
My favorite pastry is the lobster tail. It’s to die for.
How long do you work on a typical day, and how many cakes do you make in a typical week?
I work too many hours. Depending on filming and everything else, I usually work 6 to 7 days week and anywhere from 10 to 15 hours a day. So my schedule is pretty tight. The cakes — we do anywhere from four to 800 birthday cakes a week, and anywhere from 50 to 100 wedding and specialty cakes a week.
What has been your favorite cake so far?
So far? I didn’t air it yet, but I made a cake for my wife’s 30th birthday. Made a life-size replica of her out of cake. I actually took big rounds and kind of carved her out of it. It was something I never did, and it was a little different for me. There’s certain hidden talents and artistries that I tap into every day that I didn’t know I had.
When trying to come up with an idea for a cake, do you prefer to design it yourself or brainstorm with a team?
A lot of the time, what you see on the show were my ideas. If I don’t figure it out instantly then I brainstorm with the team. Usually you say a word, and I could pop a cake in my head. And that is just kind of how I work. Coincidentally, this week I was doing a cake for Frank Sinatra. There’s a play that they’re doing, and it’s a Frank Sinatra theme, and I had to look at the pictures and come up with an idea; it didn’t come to me. So I spoke to the team, and we came up with something. But usually when that happens, it’s not my best visions, not my best cakes. I did a cake for National Train Day, and they showed me a picture, and I actually visualized this cake in my head. And to see that cake finished was amazing. It actually had real trains driving through the cake. It was like 25 feet long.
What has been the most exciting change in your life now that you are more famous?
Seeing my fans, seeing families come together to watch the show every week. It’s been awesome. Seeing kids when they’re really young, teens, all ages really enjoy the show makes me so happy. Knowing that I’m trying to send the positive message out to families, and the message is getting there. That’s the most awesome part of this whole thing.
Have there been any negative things happen to you?
The only negativity I would say is I don’t get to spend as much time with my wife and my kids that I would like to, but I’m working on it. And when we do get together we make it quality time.
Do you enjoy watching yourself on TV?
I do actually. It’s funny because I sit around the TV and watch it, but my family, me and my wife and kids watch “Cake Boss” every week, and I don’t preview the episodes, so when you guys see it the first time, I do. It’s not like I see advance copies of it. I’m waiting till May 31st, so I could see the first episode of “Cake Boss.”
We know you worked with Oprah. What other celebrities did you work with?
I did a cake for Rihanna. I did a cake for Britney Spears. I did a cake for Billy Ray Cyrus. I did a cake for Justin Tuck, a cake for Andy Pettitte, Joba , all different sports, athletes and different people. But to be honest with you, I love making cakes for everybody. If I make your birthday cake or Derek Jeter’s, it doesn’t really matter. They’re both cakes to me, and I want to make you both happy.
Do you ever run out of ideas for episodes, and do you ever get ideas rejected?
I don’t ever think I could run out of ideas for cakes. If I haven’t by now, I still find new inspiration all the time from] things I look at architecture and buildings. The way a flower blooms. So I could turn anything that’s in my life to my art, which is my cakes. I don’t ever see that being a problem. As far as things being rejected, I don’t go and say, well let’s go and make that 6-foot cake that spins for this; what I do is me and the producers look through my slips; you have this cake, you have this cake, well this would probably be good cake to film, or not film. That’s kind of how it works. It’s not like I say, well, let’s make a cake for these three kids today.