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Buddy V’s features a lot more than baked goods
Known for his family’s Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, Buddy Valastro’s Buddy V’s offers family recipes passed down by his mother, grandmother, aunts and siblings.
Las Vegas’ Venetian/Palazzo Resort has yet another star under its roof, and this time is a family affair. Renowned baker Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro has opened his first restaurant with veteran restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla, boasting a fabulous view of the Las Vegas strip.
Known for his family’s Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, Buddy Valastro’s Buddy V’s offers family recipes passed down by his mother, grandmother, aunts and siblings.
The décor made us feel warm and welcome, as we we felt like we had walked right into his family’s dining room. On our visit we actually did dine with Buddy’s very energetic, enthusiastic family, and of course his lovely mother, Mary.
Sitting at the table with Buddy’s family must certainly be reminiscent of a Sunday dinner at his grandmother's house. The entrance features metal and glass inspired by the Lackawanna train station in Hoboken, the bar area is rustic with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the famed Las Vegas strip, and there is a real feeling of intimacy as we gazed at the walls adored with photographs of the Valastro family and light fixtures made of whisks and hanging rolling pins as room dividers.
The cocktail list shows off libations including a Negroni Biondo, Buddy V's Hoboken Sling, and our favorite, Buddy’s own take on a Manhattan. For dinner, we highly suggest the osso bucco (served in a cast iron dish) and the grilled octopus, both cooked to perfection. For dessert, well he’s the Cake Boss, so pick anything and its going to be great!
We have stopped in on numerous occasions since the opening and found the dishes consistent and the service on point. Buddy, Elizabeth and Kim have a huge hit on their hands and the Venetian/Palazzo has another tasty dining venue.
Buddy V’s Ristorante is the first restaurant venture for Buddy Valastro, the internationally renowned baker known for his ebullient personality and intricate custom cakes. “People always just think of me as a baker, but beyond the bakery, food has always been at the center of my family’s life,” says Valastro.Opening at the Venetian
Buddy V has partnered with veteran restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla, hospitality visionaries widely credited at the center of Las Vegas’ transformation into the world-class culinary destination it is today. Together, Blau and Canteenwalla lend the creative and operational support system needed to ensure Buddy V’s Ristorante is the talk of the town. “We’ve been friends with and fans of Buddy for a long time, so we are excited to be partnering with him to help bring his vision to life,” says Blau.
Buddy V's Restaurants © 2021 · GRAND CANAL SHOPPES at The Venetian | The Palazzo · Wind Creek Bethlehem · La Plaza Mall
IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19, SOME LOCATIONS MAY HAVE LIMITED HOURS OR CLOSURES. PLEASE CALL BEFORE VISITING.
Las Vegas Has a New Boss in Town as Buddy Valastro Announces New Restaurant 'Buddy V's' at The Venetian Las Vegas
Hoboken, NJ (PRWEB) May 22, 2013
Las Vegas is about to get a taste of New Jersey’s other “boss” as Buddy Valastro, the star of the hit TLC series Cake Boss, opens his first restaurant this fall. Partnering with veteran restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla, Buddy V’s will be located in The Venetian® Las Vegas and is inspired by Valastro’s family gatherings and the beloved recipes passed down by his mother, grandmother, and aunts.
Buddy V’s is the first restaurant venture for the internationally renowned baker known for his ebullient personality and intricate custom cakes. “People always just think of me as a baker, but beyond the bakery, food has always been at the center of my family’s life,” says Valastro.
A partnership with Blau and Canteenwalla, hospitality visionaries widely credited at the center of Las Vegas’ transformation into the world-class culinary destination it is today, lends the creative and operational support system needed to ensure Buddy V’s is the talk of the town. “We’ve been friends with and fans of Buddy for a long time so we are excited to be partnering with him to help bring his vision to life,” says Blau.
The menu at Buddy V’s will offer new twists on Italian-American classics, as well as Valastro family favorites like Sunday Gravy, Steak Pizzaiola and Lisa’s Linguine and Clams with Lobster. Staying true to Buddy’s baking roots, Buddy V’s will also boast an impressive dessert selection of timeless treats such as Zeppole, Cannoli, and the world famous Lobster Tail Pastry.
Housed within the luxurious Venetian Las Vegas and conveniently located adjacent to Barney’s New York, Buddy V’s will occupy 11,000 square feet and offer commanding Strip views in a beautiful room designed by New York based firm, Celano Design.
The Venetian and The Palazzo resort complex is known as a culinary capital of Las Vegas, featuring the nation's largest collection of fine-dining restaurants under one roof. “We are thrilled to welcome Buddy as the newest renowned chef to call The Venetian and The Palazzo home," said John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Sands Expo. "The vision of Buddy and his team is to create a restaurant that will bring many of us back to an Italian Sunday dinner with the family. What a perfect fit for The Venetian and The Palazzo!"
About The Venetian Las Vegas®
The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, the largest property in the country to receive AAA’s Five Diamond and the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Four Star awards, is one of the world’s most luxurious resort and convention destinations. Recreating Venice’s legendary landmarks, the LEED® EB Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified resort offers unmatched service and quality for leisure and corporate guests. With suites ranging from a standard 650-square-foot Luxury Suite to the luxurious 10,000-square-foot Chairman Suite, the all-suite resort boasts more than 4,000 of Las Vegas’ most lavish suite accommodations. Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, The Venetian features Grand Canal Shoppes®, an indoor streetscape complete with gondolas and singing gondoliers, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, world-class gaming, exquisite restaurants, a wide variety of entertainment such as the party musical “ROCK OF AGES,” the word-of-mouth sensation "HUMAN NATURE - THE MOTOWN SHOW," and showroom headliners including David Spade, Rita Rudner, Tim Allen and Joan Rivers and extensive convention and corporate services. Guests can earn points while they eat, sleep, shop and play with Grazie, the premiere loyalty program. The Venetian and its sister resort, The Palazzo Las Vegas, are the first ever Alliance Resorts in the InterContinental Hotel Group® global portfolio. For additional information, visit venetian.com, follow on Twitter @venetianvegas and interact on Facebook at facebook.com/venetianlasvegas.
The names and brands mentioned above are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
For Buddy Valastro, 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 Buddy 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.
In December 2010, TLC premiered the spin-off series, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, where Buddy challenged bakers from around the country to compete for a chance to work alongside the Valastro family at Carlo’s. Cake Boss: Next Great Baker crowned its third season winner this past February. This December, TLC will launch Bakery Boss, a series following Buddy Valastro across the country helping other family-run bakeries that are struggling to find their own sweet success with his famous blend of business skills and baking expertise.
Following the launch of his best-selling first book, Cake Boss, Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia (Free Press, Nov. 2010), Buddy brought the pages of stories and tips to life on stage via his highly successful Bakin’ with The Boss Tour. Buddy went on to release a how-to book, Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy’s Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets (Free Press, Nov 1, 2011). This past holiday season, Buddy shared his savory skills and favorite Italian recipes in his how-to book, Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss: Family Favorites as Only Buddy Can Serve Them Up (Free Press, Nov 6, 2012) and hit the road for his much-anticipated Homemade for the Holidays Tour. This November, Buddy offers families festive tips and tricks to celebrate the holidays with his new how-to book, Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss.
To give Cake Boss fans a real taste for what Carlo’s can offer, Buddy has built a 50,000 sq ft baking facility in Jersey City that allows him to fulfill one of his (and his father’s) life long dreams – to ship his product across the country.
Expanding outside of Hoboken for the first time, Buddy and the famiglia opened two new bakeries this past year, Carlo’s Bakery Ridgewood and Carlo’s Bakery Westfield, both in New Jersey. Always thinking bigger and better, Buddy has plans for further expansion to new locations.
Icing Bonds this Family Together
Buddy Sr., the original Cake Boss, followed in the path of his father and grandfather, both bakers in Sicily, and bought Carlo’s Bakery from Carlo Guastaffero in 1963. He proudly ran the bakery for over twenty-five years before moving it from residential Adams Street to its current and more central location on Washington Street in Hoboken. The relocation allowed the bakery to grow its customer base and was part of Buddy Sr.’s dream to make Carlo’s a household name.
Buddy and his four older sisters were raised in Little Ferry, NJ – their formative years spent watching dough being rolled out, cakes being iced, crostata being baked and cannolis being filled. When Buddy was 11, he began working at the family bakery alongside his father. “My dad was my best friend and idol – anything to spend more time with him was important.” In the precious years they worked at the bakery together as a father and son team, his dad passed on his wealth of baking knowledge and instilled in him a cast iron business sense and a drive for success.
The Start of a New Era
As a kid, it was hard for Buddy to envision a successful career as one of America’s best bakers and cake decorators. He did not consider himself to be naturally artistic and he often struggled in art class during his school years. However, after starting his career at Carlo’s Bakery by washing pots and pans, Buddy soon realized he had inherited the family gene for baking. It was at the bakery that Buddy found his calling and knew his destiny was to help his father make the family business a household name. He didn’t realize how soon he would be called to action. When he was 17, his father passed away, forever changing Buddy’s life. Drawing on the strength of his memory and bolstered by wearing his father’s St Anthony medallion (which he still wears everyday), it was time for Buddy to step up to the role he had been primed for and become the new Cake Boss.
Not only did Buddy lose his best friend and greatest source of encouragement, some of Carlo’s Bakery’s secret signature baking techniques were also gone – but not for long. When Buddy’s father died, the bakery struggled to create the sfogliatelle dough used to make one of their signature items, Lobster Tails. It was not until Buddy’s father came to him in a dream and told him, ‘I am here for one reason, to show you how to make Lobster Tails.’ Buddy went to work the next day, and for the first time was able to create the nearly impossible sfogliatelle dough. From that point on, Buddy knew he could do anything he put his mind to, and felt comfort in the fact that his father was looking down on him.
Finding His Calling
If his father’s vision was to be realized, Buddy needed to exercise his business savvy and create a point of difference to help Carlo’s Bakery stand out against the competition. “I wanted to be creative, and thought if I can make cakes that don’t look like normal cakes, but taste the way my dad’s cakes tasted… then I might be onto something.” With that revelation, designer cakes became the next specialty for Carlo’s Bakery. He experimented with his father’s recipes and introduced new items from Red Velvet Cake to his signature flower cupcake. He also mastered fondant icing which allowed Buddy to take cake decorating to new levels not yet seen in the industry. Catering to celebrity palettes like Oprah, his works of cake-art have included a scale model of the city of St Louis, a giant edible NASCAR racecar cake (it took 24,000 cakes to make it and weighed over 10,000 pounds) and his magnum opus – a life-size tribute to his wife and soul mate Lisa for her 30th birthday.
Being the Cake Boss
Carlo’s Bakery had always been well known for its incredible wedding cakes and over the years, Buddy’s creations were frequently featured in bridal magazines. As a result of this exposure, Buddy was invited to participate on Food Network Challenge in 2004. Recognizing a growing interest in televised baking shows, Buddy saw an opportunity to push the bakery into new territory and he jumped at the chance. A naturally outgoing “people person,” Buddy felt comfortable on TV and was never nervous in front of the camera. He also found that he had a gift for one-liners and clever sound bytes. Over the next few years, he competed in four Food Network Challenge cake competitions. After losing his first three battles, Buddy took top prize on “battle of the brides.” Along with a cash prize, Buddy was also presented with an enormous $10,000 check, which proudly hangs on the wall of his office.
Buddy’s appearances on Food Network Challenge were only the start of his foray into television. Two of the show’s cameramen approached him after one of the tapings and encouraged him to pursue his own show. They recognized his engaging on-camera presence and knew a series revolving around Buddy would fascinate audiences. Buddy knew this was his chance to make Carlo’s Bakery known worldwide. He used his connections to pitch a show featuring himself, Lisa, his four sisters and his mom, aka the “Boss Boss,” as they go about their daily frenetic routine running the shop. Executives at TLC had seen Buddy on TV before and took notice. They agreed to shoot a pilot at the bakery and filmed 120 hours of footage for the first half hour episode. TLC loved the show and immediately ordered 12 more episodes. Cake Boss became an instant hit with audiences, currently airing its sixth season.
Keeping it in the Family
Buddy has made it his mission to diversify the business’ success while staying true to the heritage of Carlo’s Bakery, a move that would have made his father proud. “I am hanging on to traditions because I want to, not because I have to. I can’t turn my back on the way we did things.” The family and the community were important to Buddy Sr. Every year he donated zeppoles to Saint Joseph’s Church in Jersey City and baked St. Anthony’s loaves for the St. Francis Church in Hoboken. Like his father, Buddy is a great believer in giving back, and maintains this practice today. He is also a proud honorary board member of Make-a-Wish Foundation and was named as the organization’s Celebrity of the Year in 2011. A father himself to his daughter and three sons, Buddy continues to pass on Valastro family traditions.
No Limit on Success
While Cake Boss has helped make Carlo’s Bakery popular with tourists, it was well known even before the show began airing. Locals often lined up out the door under the simple “Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop” sign in Hoboken, eager for a piece of the pie. Each week, the business averages around 60 wedding cakes, 500 birthday cakes, thousands of cannolis and more. The noises from the crowd caught the attention of local mayor, Dawn Zimmer, who said, “We feel very lucky to have Buddy and Carlo’s bakery. Hoboken was known before, but now it’s even more known.” Ernst & Young has also recognized Buddy for his extraordinary success and personal commitment to his businesses and community by honoring Buddy as Humanitarian of the Year.
The true origin of the charming and humble baker’s unwavering dedication comes from his father’s handed down teachings. “I found my dream job and passion when I was 11 – and I still have it. I love what I do and I am good at it, which makes me incredibly lucky and blessed.” So, how does a man who’s already achieved so much continue to find inspiration? Simple. “I can see cakes in anything. I just open my eyes.”
Giant Pizza and Cake Slices Invade the Strip at Buddy Valastro’s PizzaCake
Buddy Valastro’s two favorite things to eat? Pizza and cake. So the Cake Boss decided to combine the two at his new restaurant now open at Harrah’s. PizzaCake officially opened at the front of the resort spanning 1,800 square feet and serving a roster of New York and Sicilian crusts, cookie dough dessert pizzas, slices of cake, and the namesake, PizzaCake.
“Just the thought of walking down the Strip and grabbing a slice of pizza, like I’m in New York City,” Valastro says of the inspiration behind his newest restaurant.
On the Strip side of the fast-casual restaurant sits a small patio, currently awaiting a six-foot-tall, six-layer, rainbow-colored vanilla cake sculpture, more tables, a walk-up window for ordering, and a cake ATM. Inside, the restaurant features photos of his family decorating the subway-tiled space, the walk-up counter, and another cake ATM facing the casino floor.
Valastro brought his father-in-law Mauro Belgiovine to Vegas to run the restaurant. Valastro and Belgionvine, who owned a pizza shop in Union, New Jersey, worked on the dough for more than six months before coming up with the final recipes.
The interior of PizzaCake Jose Salinas
That namesake pizza cake features layers of pizza stacked like lasagna. “We actually wanted to come up with something that was like a layer cake. So we made these really thin pieces and then we kind of layered them like lasagna,” Valastro says.
The usual pizza combinations make the menu, along with a chicken Parmesan variety, a shout out to the best-selling dish at his Buddy V’s Ristorante at the Palazzo. The Sicilian squares feature a light but thick baked crust. Diners can order by the slice or a full pie.
On the dessert side of the menu, cookie pizzas come with fruity cereals, S’mores, chocolate and peanut butter, a sweet and salty variety with potato chips and pretzels, and his wife Lisa’s inspiration, a Nutella version. Monster cake slices from his neighboring Carlo’s Bake Shop at the Venetian include red velvet, rainbow, chocolate, and vanilla. Those cake ATMs go live in about two weeks, doling out slices 24/7.
‘Cake Boss’ star Buddy Valastro is on the mend after freak hand injury
After impaling his hand during the shutdown, the ‘Cake Boss’ is looking ahead.
For Buddy Valastro, returning to Las Vegas last week was a very big deal.
“To be able to come out here, and actually see life, and see people get back to normal, enjoying the restaurant and enjoying Vegas, (I’m) teary-eyed,” the “Cake Boss” star reflected on Wednesday, seated at Buddy V’s Ristorante in The Grand Canal Shoppes. Through the windows, he could watch the people standing in a socially-distanced line to purchase treats from his other Venetian/Palazzo business, Carlo’s Bakery.
“I’ve been taking a lot of pictures with fans,” Valastro said of the crowds that have continued to flock to the celebrity chef’s local establishments. “I’ve been doing it with my mask on, you know. I’m vaccinated, so I feel a little bit better, and I do a lot of hand washing and sanitizing. But I’m trying to be as normal as you possibly can during a pandemic.”
In this semi-private setting, with a member of the media who also has been vaccinated, the celebrity chef is also excited to shake hands — for a very different reason.
“Look, I can make a full fist, I can go fully straight, and I’ve got my strength,” he says, clenching and unclenching his bandaged right hand, before extending it to grasp mine with a firm grip.
“I got so frigging lucky,” Valastro continues, referring to his recovery from a freak bowling alley accident in September, which has forced him to undergo four surgeries and an intense physical therapy regimen to regain most of the movement and feeling in his hand. The accident itself, however, was anything but lucky.
“I was trying to fix my bowling alley, in my house,” Valastro explains of the incident. “I have a pin setter, and it was stuck. I went back there, and I dozed off for a second, and it caught my hand between a fork, and it just went ‘Boom!’ It blew through my hand, and then it rolled it.”
Valastro’s son was forced to cut him free from the machine with a power saw so they could drive him to the hospital with a metal spike still piercing his palm.
“It was like a solid piece of metal — probably like seven or eight inches (long), and it had to be at least an inch in diameter,” Valastro says of the piece that impaled him.
The accident occurred in September, months after COVID-19 had forced him to cancel a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate the official grand opening of his Harrah’s restaurant Pizza Cake. He’d just finished filming the Food Network’s “Buddy vs. Christmas” series. And while much of the dining world had shut down, the chef and his family had been scrambling to personally fill online cake orders from their Jersey City factory.
“Everybody in my factory, with this fear of COVID, didn’t’ want to work,” he explains. “And we were getting thousands and thousands of orders. So I took my wife, my kids, my nieces, my nephews, and we all ran the factory and took all the orders for like three months until the employees felt comfortable coming back to work.”
Even after his accident, Valastro returned to work with his family in the factory as he awaited his surgeries. As time went by, he began to worry whether he’d ever fully recover.
“Bad hand and all, bandages on, I’m taking racks out of the oven. I’m making lemonade out of lemons, because that’s the way I’m built. But when I really had time to think about it after the holidays, I said to my wife, ‘You know I’m just not the same.’ Because even just holding a knife, or holding a brush, I couldn’t grab it. And you don’t realize how important things are, until something happens.”
It wasn’t until the new year, when his doctor removed his bandages after a surgery, that he began to feel more confident.
“She said ‘All right, make a fist,’ and I made my fist. And I started crying, because I was like, my hand is back, and I had strength in it.”
Today Valastro is confident in his own recovery as well as Las Vegas’ ability to bounce back quickly from COVID. On the personal front, he’s preparing to begin filming a new season of “Buddy vs. Duff” in April. Locally, he’s preparing to launch a dozen cake-slice vending machines at locations on the Strip “in the next four or five months.” And at Buddy V’s, he’s offering a pair of specials just for local residents with a Nevada ID.
“I just want to thank the locals for always supporting us and always coming back,” Valastro says of the offers.
For those who are ready to dine indoors again, Buddy V’s is now offering a three-course prix fixe Mi Familia Locale menu every Tuesday night for $30.95. Those who are reluctant to dine out can pick up family style La Famiglia To Go dinners in two sizes ($75, feeds 2 to 4 people $125, feeds 4 to 6), delivered to their car by The Venetian’s former Barney’s valet, every Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian and Palazzo.
'Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro Opens First Las Vegas Restaurant - Recipes
Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro , Cuisineist Editor Elaine Harris
The Venetian / Palazzo Resort have yet another star under its roof and this time is a family affair. Renowned baker Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro opened his first restaurant with veteran restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla with a fabulous view of the Las Vegas strip.
Known for his family’s Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, Buddy Valastro’s Buddy V’s offers up family recipes passed down by his mother, grandmother, aunts and siblings.
The décor made us feel warm and welcome as we we felt like we walked right into his family’s dining room. On our visit we actually did dine with Buddy’s very energetic, enthusiastic family and of course his lovely mother Mary.
Sitting at the table with his family, is reminiscent of a Sunday dinner at his grandmother’s house. The entrance features metal and glass inspired by the Lackawanna train station in Hoboken . The bar area is rustic with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the famed Las Vegas strip.
There is a real feeling of intimacy as we gazed around the walls adored with photographs of the Valastro family and light fixtures made of whisks and hanging rolling pins as room dividers.
The cocktail list shows off libations like a Negroni Biondo, Buddy V’s Hobokon Sling and our favorite , Buddy’s own take on a Manhattan .For dinner, we highly suggest the Osso Bucco and the grilled Octopus, yes that’s right grilled! and on this night it was cooked to perfection. For the Fini , Oh come on ! He’s the Cake Boss, pick anything and its going to be great.
We have stopped in on numerous occasions since the opening and found the dishes consistent and the service right on spot.
Buddy , Elizabeth and Kim have a huge hit on their hands and the Venetian / Palazzo Resorts another tasty dining venue .
Buddy Valastro's Winter Comfort Food
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.
The 'Cake Boss' shows you how to make delicious dishes for the whole family.
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Q&A: Buddy Valastro
On TLC’s Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro runs Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., making over-the-top cakes. Now six months after he debuted his first dining concept, Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Palazzo, Valastro is back where it all began with the Las Vegas opening of Carlo’s Bakery, across the hall from Buddy V’s. He spoke with Susan Stapleton about whether he considers himself a chef or a cook, his philosophy on cooking and his family’s recipes.
Why open a restaurant in Las Vegas?
The question is, why wouldn’t I open a restaurant in Las Vegas? If you are going to open anywhere, it’s Las Vegas.
What did you think the first time you saw the restaurant?
The feeling that I felt when I stepped inside and saw my name up like that, it was just such a humbling feeling to know that I have a restaurant that’s magnificent, in one of the greatest casinos in the world. Standing here looking at the Strip, the flash of lights, it really made me feel awesome.
Do you consider yourself a baker or a chef?
It’s funny. A lot of people say to me, “You’re a baker.” They’re right. I am a baker. I’m 100 percent a baker. I don’t even call myself a chef. When chefs call me chef, I say, “Call me Buddy.” I don’t really have any formal training. I feel like there are people who are born with a gift in life and I’m one of the people who when I go home or taste something I can identify flavors. And I’m just a really good home cook. I remember being a kid, 17 or 18 years old going out and we’d eat in a restaurant and I think it was fried rice—I’m Italian, fried rice is fried rice—but it was so good I went home and made it because I identified the ingredient and made my own. So I’ve always been able to do that. But a lot of it is being able to identify flavors and being good.
What’s your philosophy on cooking?
I feel that when I do cook, I cook a little different than a chef. You know a baker’s mind-set, you measure everything. It’s scientific. You don’t (go), “Oh I’ll throw a little extra baking powder in.” It ain’t going to happen. So when I cook, I feel like I’m very scientific. If I’m going to make a pot of gravy, I weigh the salt, weigh the sugar, weigh everything that you are going to put in there. Cook it a certain amount to time. It’s consistent. That’s my philosophy on cooking.
How did your family influence the menu?
Growing up in an Italian family, everyone was around food. We had so many great dinners. The culinary rock stars of my life were my dad, my mom, my grandma, my aunts. We would go and have big, extravagant dinners where food comes out, and out, and out. . I want to bring that to the world. I’m not here saying I’m the greatest chef in the world, because I’m not. My philosophy is when you come here, you feel like you went to your grandma’s house, or you went to a great cook in your life. And I feel like that’s my niche. That’s who I am. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re trying to do the hardest and the most complex dishes in the world. We’re not. But I’m very proud of my food. It’s homemade. It’s not like this is my first rodeo.
'Cake Boss' comes to Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM — The Valastro family gathered around a giant cake in the shape of what can only be described as Bethlehem's iconic blast furnaces made from baking pans and other pastry equipment.
Fans of the popular TLC show "Cake Boss" know that Buddy Valastro is known exactly for this type of amazing cake.
But Saturday, the cake was part of Valastro's own celebration: the unveiling of his new restaurant, Buddy V's Ristorante, at the Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort.
"I want to thank my children, because everything I do, I do for yoos," he said, immediately followed by laughter at the Jersey-ism from many in the crowd.
Valastro, along with his wife, Lisa, gave a sneak preview of the new restaurant to about 200 invited guests at an event full of food, desserts and family.
Buddy V's replaces the St. James Gate Irish pub, which closed in November. The restaurant is Valastro's second the other, also Buddy V's, is at another Sands property, the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. The restaurant opens to the public Monday.
The restaurant is casual, "red-sauce" Italian and offers dishes that come from Valastro family recipes, such as lasagna, brick oven pizzas, bone-in veal chops, steak pizzaiola and bucatini carbonara. It's approachable food and priced between $12 and $49, with most dishes in the $22-25 range.
"We wanted food that resonated with people," said Elizabeth Blau, one of Valastro's operations partners.
Family is at the center of "Cake Boss," the wildly popular TLC reality show based on Valastro's life as the head of an extended Italian family that runs a massive bakery empire based in Hoboken, N.J. The show has been on the air since 2009.
Members of the cast of "Cake Boss" were on hand at the event, including sister Mary Sciarrone and brother-in-law Mauro Castano.
The atmosphere is casual and the decor gives the feeling of being in a family home thanks to rustic wood flooring, distressed brick and an eclectic mix of furniture and light fixtures. Photos of the Valastro family are seen throughout the restaurant.
Valastro said he's especially happy to have the restaurant in Bethlehem as it's only an hour from his New Jersey home.
Restaurants may seem to be a departure for a man so well known for his pastry and cake design expertise. Valastro has numerous "Carlo's Bake Shop" locations across the country, including one in Philadelphia. He's also the author of several cookbooks featuring sweet and savory recipes.
He'll admit he's not a classically trained chef. What he knows about cooking he learned from his family.
"I am a cook and I cook from the heart," Valastro said.
Those looking forward to trying some of Valastro's famous pastries won't be disappointed as the restaurant will offer an impressive array of Italian dessert favorites such as zeppole, cannoli and his famous lobster tail pastry. There's also a few special desserts made just for the restaurant, including a warm Nutella cake with a salted caramel ice cream.
Valastro's four children, ranging in ages from 13 to 5, were all on a hand at the event. Valastro said it was important to have his children there for the opening and be a part of the celebration.
'Cake Boss' talks fate of Wrigley cake, Rosemont restaurant plans
The last time "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro worked with a Chicago sports venue, things didn't end well.
Valastro's 400-pound cake replica of Wrigley Field to celebrate the ballpark's centennial in 2014 went uneaten before it was famously trashed in a dumpster.
Valastro said he doesn't have any hard feelings and he's looking forward to meeting fans and decorating cookies at the TLC network's block party Saturday at Soldier Field. The free event, which also features "Long Island Medium" Theresa Caputo, Kate Gosselin and casts from other TLC shows, is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m.
"(The Cubs) loved the cake. They felt bad those pictures of the dumpster came out, but what can you do?" Valastro said in a phone interview with the Tribune this week.