Cake Boss baker brings show to Akron

By John Benson

Comedian Jim Gaffigan unknowingly tapped into the appeal of TLC show “Cake Boss” years ago with his famous bit about, well, the delicious baked dessert.

“Cake’s a powerful food,” Gaffigan said. “Cake can actually bring people together. ‘It’s Bill’s birthday.’ ‘Yeah, I hate that guy.’ ‘There’s cake in the conference room.’ ‘Well, I should say hello.’”

For the last three years, America has been saying “Hello” to the popular reality show “Cake Boss.” Currently in its fifth season, the program is set in Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., and follows the daily life of baker Buddy Valastro and his family.

Capitalizing on his fame, Valastro has entered celebrity chef status with his baking exploits. Not only does he operate his business but he’s also an author (latest book is “Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss”) and a touring entity.

After a successful Northeast Ohio show last year, Valastro returns to the Rubber City Saturday for a gig at the Akron Civic Theatre.

“At the end of the day, we’ve done probably 80 to 100 shows across the country,” said Valastro, calling from Schenectady, N.Y. “The reason why I really got into the tour is because it starts with the book signing. I have to be on tour anyway doing that, so I figured why not do a live show in every city? In the afternoon I’ll do a book signing and in the evening I’ll do a live theater show. I tour the country, live out of a bus for two weeks and I just have fun, meet fans and do what we do.”

Valastro is scheduled for a book signing at noon Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 4015 Medina Road in Akron, with his show later on that night. Wow, he’s living the rock star life just like his fellow Garden State natives Bon Jovi.

“I don’t know, but when I get out on stage and I hear the fans, they make me feel like Bon Jovi,” Valastro said.

Actually, Valastro is feeling a little bit like Santa Claus with his new tour that has a holiday show theme. Not only will the baker be sharing the holiday traditions and stories from his family at Carlo’s Bakery, but he’ll be demonstrating techniques and sharing tips. The 35-year-old said the latter aspects are something he didn’t do in front of audiences before but he’s in the giving mood this Yuletide season.

Also, he’s a perfectionist and it pains him to know there are cakes out there that have correctable “weep wow” issues.

“The key to cake decorating is knowing what to do, having the right tools, right tricks and the right tips,” Valastro said. “This show is all about me showing you how to do cakes like me that you can do at home.”

Valastro promises the handful of cakes – from buttercream to fondant – he’ll be decorating on stage will go home with lucky audience members. As for his craft, the baker describes each of his culinary creations as being artistic masterpieces.

“When you make something from nothing, it’s like art,” Valastro said. “This is my painting, my art form. And then when people eat it they’re like, ‘Wow, it tastes good, too.’”

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