Bigger is always better, especially when it comes to cakes. And Buddy Valastro, owner of US-based Carlos Bakery, gives us exactly that. The star of TLC’s new food reality show, Cake Boss, Valastro makes sure his creations – from teetering skyscrapers to entire fire stations-have jaws dropping the world over. The show not only chronicles the workings of the family-run bakery, but also tracks their interpersonal relationships and how they take the business forward. The bakery was established by Buddy senior, an Italian emmigrant. We talked to Valastro, a fourth-generation baker, who started helping out his dad at the age of 17:
How do you bake the perfect cake?
I pull inspiration from everywhere. First, I listen to my client, to what they really want and I bring that vision to life on the cake. Baking is a science and if you’re not paying attention, one mistake can screw up an entire batch.
Is it easier working with your family?
Carlos Bakery is over 100 years old. My dad bought it in the 1960s from the original owner and my family has worked there ever since. My sisters, brothers-in-law and cousins work with me at the bakery. Nobody has your back like family. Even when we disagree, we get over it and move on.
Your father had a great influence on your life and work. How has that helped your bakery’s success?
I learned everything I know from my dad. He started me young at the bakery and made me practise until whatever I was doing was perfect. After I took over the bakery, I started trying out some new techniques myself. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my dad. I always think of him when I make decisions about the bakery. Would he do that, would he be proud of this? He’s still very present in how I run the bakery.
Being in the cake-making business, do you have a sweet tooth?
I enjoy the sugar highs of a cupcake. But I try limiting myself and eat one cupcake, not 15, you know.
Cake Boss is going to premiere in India. How do you feel about it?
I’m so excited. There’s a part of me that just can’t believe the show has grown this much.
Where do you see Carlos’ going from here?
I’m always working on making Carlos’ bigger and better. I’ve got a few plans in the works. We are all about family and cake. I won’t lie to you-I am a high school dropout. But I believe the American dream is still alive. I believe that if you work hard, and you do what you have to do, you can accomplish anything.
Watch Buddy and his family in action every Tuesday at 10 pm on TLC.