Meeting Buddy “The Cake Boss” Valastro
When I would catch an episode of the first season of “Cake Boss” on TLC, I could not change the channel. I don’t watch much TV, but when this show first came out, I thought, this guy and his family are kind of hilarious — in that bakery kitchen together, baking and getting their business to be a huge success. How fun. And they’d laugh and fight and play jokes on each other and hug it out all in the same episode. What an Italian family thing to do, right? I found the entire scene rather endearing. Years later, I still enjoy catching a rerun here or there. It’s not sophisticated programming, but it remains lovable to me for all the reasons I first found it intriguing. Did I ever imagine I’d have the chance to interview or meet the guy? No!
Buddy took the trip from Hoboken, N.J., to Western New York last weekend as the “Kitchen Boss” to provide an up-close, interactive, Italian cooking demonstration at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel on Saturday, Feb. 18. Joined by Frank Amato Jr. — “Cousin Frankie” — Buddy shared his favorite Italian dishes and took questions from the audience. Before the event, I was part of an intimate media meet-and-greet that gave me the chance to speak with him and take photos up close. I even got a picture with his wife, Lisa, who is a very good sport about being the butt of some of her husband’s jokes!
Prior to Buddy’s arrival here, I was fortunate to interview him about his bakery and TV shows, the gorgeous cassata cake he learned to make in Sicily, and more. Click here to read my interview with Buddy Valastro for Buffalo Spree.
I don’t regularly watch “Kitchen Boss,” but I can imagine why it has a loyal following. As Buddy said on Saturday night, he’s not a trained chef, just a good cook, and I’m sure his fans appreciate that. Some people would rather get cooking tips from a personality like him and he certainly has some great tips to offer. The event included demos of white bean bruschetta, eggplant parmesan and marinara sauce, and rice pudding. I was most struck by how much the fans respond to him. They love him. It’s clear they admire his skills with fondant as much as his down-to-earth approach. He seems like a genuinely nice guy who loves his family and what he does–and that’s refreshing to the masses. I don’t blame them. He was very sweet in person with everyone he came in contact with, and he has a fiery streak that’s magnetizing.