Since April of 2009, Cake Boss has been a hit reality show on the TLC cable television network. Set at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, the series follows Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro and his family as they operate their business, focusing mainly on how they create their often-unusual cake orders. Nielsen ratings indicate more than 1.5 million viewers tune in to the program.
In 2010, the staff made a Dean Martin cake which was displayed at the annual Enfield Italian Festival. This year's creation is a cake honoring Martin's daughter Deana, who will be headlining the weekend entertainment at the festival for the second straight year.
Buddy's brother-in-law and right hand man, Mauro Castano, will be visiting the festival this weekend with his family. They will be displaying the cake, meeting fans and signing autographs Saturday evening.
During a break in filming an episode of the series Wednesday morning, Mauro took time to speak with Enfield Patch via telephone.
Q: How did a small bakery in a New Jersey town end up becoming the focus of a television show?
A: It all started a long time ago with my father-in-law doing the things he way he did, and passing that down to his family. My brother-in-law fit right into his shoes, and he loves it and is passionate about it. Everything he does comes out so good, and we've slowly all gotten involved; we love coming here every day. The show came about after we did a few competitions on TV, and Buddy actually won one. I partnered up with him for the competitions, and some people looking to do a show liked that old Italian, northern New Jersey attitude. They thought it was a good combo, and it all took off from there.
Q: When this thing started, did you ever expect it to explode into the phenomenon it has become?
A: We thought we had something good going, but I never thought to this extent. I mean, we're bakers, making cakes all day. We never thought television would make all this go off like that. We're a family show, and we're happy about that. People sit down with their families and watch the show; they can do something together for a half hour and not have to worry about anything bad being done or said on TV, so I think that's what attracts the adults. Many of our fans are young kids, 11 to 13 years old, who sit there and say, "How is this guy doing this cake?" They can't believe that's cake.
Q: What is the most unusual cake creation you guys have made since the series started?
A: The most unusual were probably the last couple that we did. We did one that hasn't even aired yet, but I'll give you a little inside information. We did a life-size body in a life-size coffin for some people who were like vampires, and we delivered it to a cemetery. My son Buddy came with us, and it was one of the oddest things I've ever done. I couldn't believe I was in a cemetery at 10 o'clock at night with a body in a coffin made out of cake.
Q: I assume you get invited to hundreds of these types of functions. What made you decide to attend the Italian Festival here in Enfield?
A: Carl (Sferrazza, president of the Mount Carmel Society) is a really good guy; he reminds me of my father. I did one for him last year, and he was really nice. We get requests every day, but he told us the story about the Italian heritage and I was born in Italy, so keeping the Italian heritage going here in the United States is something I'm really affectionate about.
Q: When did you come to the United States?
A: I came over in February of 1976, when I was 12. My birthday is coming up August 18th, and my wife Maddalena's is on the 15th.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this coming weekend in Enfield?
A: I'm a big boy, so I want to see what everybody's got cooked up there. I'm looking forward to meeting all the people, it sounds like it's a really nice event, and my wife and son and daughters are coming up to meet the whole Enfield, CT family.
Q: That's news - Dominique and Mary are coming up too?
A: They weren't going to come at first, but my daughter actually helps out and since my wife and I are going to be gone, she's coming to help us.