The Cake Boss is sweet on Lowell.
No kidding. The Cake Boss -- also known as Buddy Valastro, the amiable baker from Hoboken, N.J., who stars in Cake Boss, TLC's hit reality TV show -- loves the old Mill City and its people.
That's why he asked his people to include Lowell in the line-up of 20 cities he'll visit with his Buddy Valastro Live! Homemade for the Holidays show. Valastro and company bring holiday baking tips, cakes, fun and plenty of audience interaction to Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m.
"I loved Lowell last year when we played to a sold-out crowd," Valastro, 35, said by phone recently. "It was so energized and everyone made me feel at home. I told them we had to come back to Lowell."
Fans will see Buddy, the Cake Boss, in action as he demonstrates fabulous holiday cake designs, shares behind the scenes stories from the TV show, plus family memories and cherished stories. He'll answer questions and bring fans up for a little one-on-one training in the fine art of baking, Cake Boss-style.
"I'm a one-man band in this live show. It's holiday-themed and there will be a lot of good stuff with plenty of audience interaction. Plus, we'll be giving away a lot of cakes," he said.
Valastro still can't quite believe the good fortune that's come to him and his family since Cake Boss premiered in April, 2009.
"I thought it would do OK, but I never thought it would get so big so quick," he said. "It was kind of like 'wow,' but we remain humble and haven't let it go to our heads."
Set in his family's Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, the show, now in its fifth season, follows Valastro, his family and staff as they bake incredible cakes and share family celebrations, triumphs and tragedies.
The show has made Carlo's a Hoboken destination, he added.
"I'm sharing my neck of the woods with the world and I am proud of it," he said.
Valastro spoke with The Sun before Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey and New York, leaving Hoboken, along with many other communities under water. According to his Twitter account, the bakery closed for a while, but has reopened and Valastro was organizing bake sales and donating proceeds to help neighbors get back on track after the waters receded.
He's no stranger to helping out. When his beloved mom, Mary, was diagnosed with ALS -- Lou Gehrig's disease -- last year, he and the family devoted themselves to helping raise awareness and funds for this devastating illness.
It's what you do for your family, says Buddy.
"Mom's doing as good as she can and we do what we gotta do to keep her comfortable and show the love," he said.
He has four kids of his own -- ages 9, 8, 5 and 18 months -- with his wife Lisa.
They often come to the bakery to help him out -- which is how he learned the bakery business from his own father, the late Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro Sr.
"As crazy as I am with my schedule, I am still close to the family and every day I take a different kid to work with me. They're like kids in a candy store and I am passing what I know on to them," he said.
One of those talents is the ability to make incredible cakes to suit his customers' wildest dreams.
He and his crew have made hundreds, no thousands, of cakes. But one stands out, said Valastro.
"Our Transformer cake was my favorite. It was an engineering marvel that defied gravity. I'll never say no to a cake, but we always try to conceptualize it -- so it doesn't collapse," he said.
Tickets to Buddy Valastro Live! Homemade for the Holidays are $33.75-$43.75 at the box office or at www.lowellauditorium.com.
Nancye Tuttle's email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recipes for success
Getting ready to roll out Thanksgiving pies or turn out Christmas cookies by the dozen? Buddy, The Cake Boss, Valastro shares the following tips for perfect baked goods.
- -- Know your stove. Get an external thermometer, put it on the middle shelf and make sure it registers 350 degrees.
- -- Bake everything on the middle shelf.
- -- Don't overmix cookie batter and follow the recipe precisely, step-by-step.
- -- Only bake one baking sheet of cookies at a time so the air can circulate around it.
- -- 90 percent of success in baking comes from having the right tools, knowing a few tricks and then repeating it by doing it over and over again.