People know Buddy Valastro as down-to-earth baker who makes some of the most extravagant cakes the world over.
And while he now sits on empire built on frosting and fondant, it was not an easy journey for him and his family.
Talking to Bulletin Entertainment recently, Buddy shared how his Italian father immigrated to America with nothing, not even shoes.
“They knew the feeling of being hungry. I saw how they worked hard to provide us what we need,” he said. “They moved to different places, unsure of what will happen. But they did that for us to have a better life.”
With hard work and perseverance, the older Valastro decided to invest in a business. While building mile-high cakes may not be a family tradition for them, baking definitely is – that’s why they decided to put up Carlo’s Bakery.
Buddy started working there at age 15, not as baker though but as dishwasher and that’s fine, fine, fine.
“If my parents didn’t do that, I’m not in this place where I am right now,” he said, smiling.
Buddy credits all his success to his parents, maintaining they serve as “endless inspiration” to him.
“My parents have that drive to make a better life and succeed. I appreciated it that’s why I also worked hard my whole life,” he said. “I trained hard to be the baker I am today and it supported my wife, my whole family for all these years.”
To this date, Carlo’s Bakery already has 22 branches all over the US. Buddy shared he aims to expand his businesss to different countries soon.
What about in Asian countries, we asked.
“Geographically, Philippines is a good spot so we’ll see,” he hinted.
If you can’t get enough of Buddy and his family’s life in the kitchen, you might as well check TLC’s top-rated reality show “Cake Boss.”
Now on its ninth season, “Cake Boss” has propelled Buddy and Carlo’s Bakery to international stardom, gaining billions of audiences from 200 countries all over the world. The show is dubbed in 45 languages.
“Cake Boss 9” premieres Nov. 15, 9 p.m. on TLC Philippines.
On what the audience should expect in the new season, Buddy will pay tribute to his mother, Mary Valastro, who passed away October this year.
“You know what my whole world crashed when she died and the last thing I wanted to do is face the camera,” he admitted. “But I knew I had an obligation to the fans so I decided to pay tribute and homage to my mother and to my father as well through the show they’ve started. I think that’s probably the most impactful episode for this season.”
How is it like baking in front of cameras? Easy-peasy, he said.
“The only thing that happens is… we have a switch, lights, camera and they (staff and crew) come to our workspace. Other than that, there’s no pressure at all,” he maintained.
According to Buddy, they already consider the production staff of the show like family. He even related the guy who filmed the “Cake Boss” pilot episode way back in 2009 is still working with them.
“We’re like a big crazy family. Actually we feed the whole crew with our cakes. We prank each other. Everything is going so smoothly. There’s nothing staged, nothing’s fake,” he enthused.
If there’s another thing Buddy could be proud of about “Cake Boss,” it is the show being able to inspire aspiring bakers, as well as entrepreneurs.
“It inspires people to follow their dreams. It’s a nice feeling when a 10-year-old comes up with me, hugging and looking at me while saying, ‘I want to be a baker just like you and you inspire me to do everything’s possible in this world.’”
Speaking of aspiring bakers, Buddy advises them to not go into culinary school unless they are 100 percent sure they want it as a professional career.
“I always tell people who ask me, ‘Buddy, I love to bake. Should I go to culinary school?’ I said no. Don’t go to culinary school if baking is just your hobby.
“But once you know that this is really what you want you, you know that this could be job in the future, then go to culinary. I don’t want to see people waste money.”
The celebrity chef was in the country recently for the TLC Festival. This year’s edition, themed “Go Lokal,” was a celebration of all things Filipino, showcasing the best the Philippines has to offer.
It’s the second time Buddy has been to the country. According to him, he keeps coming back to the Philippines because of the people.
“They (Filipinos) make me feel home, they make feel welcome,” he said.
Buddy divulged he adores Filipinos as they take pride in their tradition and history. He also describes them as “very hardworking,” particularly their sacrifices to give a better life for their families.
“When I look at the stories of many Filipinos, it reminds me of my parents,” he said. “I can see the work ethics of Filipinos and I have a huge respect for that.”
Buddy revealed the head of his Human Resources Department is a Filipina.
“Then when we came to New Jersey, we visited a huge Filipino community there. Actually our church, 60 percent of the commissioners there are Filipinos. So we knew the Filipino community very well,” he said, smiling.
The chef hinted he will possibly do some Filipino episodes on “Cake Boss.” Any Filipino words he already knew?
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