In Buddy Valastro’s house, there are two Bosses. We spoke exclusively with the star of the hit TLC show Cake Boss and his wife, Lisa, about parenting, their plans for the holidays, and who’s really the boss.
Buddy, we all know you as the Cake Boss. What is it like to go from having your bakery to now amassing such a huge empire?
Lisa: Everyone’s lives change at some point and you have to adapt. Would I wish it to go back? Yes and no. There’s good and bad in everything. Do I wish we had dinner home everyday to have dinner? Sure, it’s hard to have family time. You take it as the day comes.
Buddy: I feel like everything I do is for my wife and children. To give them a better life is part of what I do, and more than that, it’s leaving a legacy on the world. I impact a lot of people with what I do, and it’s important for me to keep doing those things. Some people might look at me as the Cake Boss, but when I hear a 10-year-old kid say to me that it inspires them, then it’s more than what it seems.
Balancing work and family must be particularly challenging.
Buddy: Of course, but before I became Cake Boss, I never worked 9-5. It was making cakes from morning to night and I worked Saturdays and Sundays, so actually now I can take the weekends off more, which I was never able to do before. Since I was 11-years-old, I worked Christmas Day. Now to be able to come home Christmas morning and enjoy it like everyone else, is amazing. And really, we’re a family brand. It’s not like we have the paparazzi following us all the time. Thank God it’s not like that. A lot of kids want to take pictures.
What do you have going on now?
Lisa: We just finished filming our first show together with our children. It was Buddy Valastro’s Family Vacation. We got to live on an RV for two weeks and travel the country. It was an adjustment from living her to being on an RV. We lived and did everything on the RV.
Even though you know your family inside and out, I would think that you learn something new being all together on an RV.
Lisa: You realize you have a lot of patience!
Buddy: We want our kids to remain grounded. They are really good kids. They are getting big; it’s getting scary. One minute my daughter is a little girl, and now she’s becoming a woman.
So Buddy isn’t the only one in the kitchen. Lisa, you also cook.
Lisa: I do; I cook at home. I’m the home cook; I have 4 kids so I have to get dinner on the table fast.
Buddy: I think Lisa will expand into television with her own cooking show. She’s relatable because she is a mom and she throws down! If I call her and say I’m coming over with 20 people, she’ll get a meal on the table in an hour. What I’m most impressed about is that she rocks it all.
That’s so sweet.
Buddy: I gotta tell you, it was a big adjustment because my wife had to share me. When we got married, she loved me before all this.
Lisa: And we were married for 8 years before this all happened. We had our routine and our lifestyle.
Buddy: And we lived well; we had a good life. We have always been hard workers and worked harder to save up for things. At the end of the day, we’re still in love, after all these years. I couldn’t do what I’d do without her support. She’s the rock that my foundation is built on, and she doesn’t always get the credit she deserves because, let’s face it, she’s on the sidelines. I remember after the first season, things got nuts. So I said to her, “If you want, I won’t do it.” I didn’t want to, but I told her anyway! [laughs]
What are some of your plans for the future?
Lisa: I’m hoping to do my own little cooking thing. Quick meals, basically what I do everyday at home. Even though I want to do something for myself, I still want to be a mom. That comes first to me; I still want to go to my kids’ schools. I want to balance that, because my husband works so much. Balance is everything.
Buddy: When we got married, it was important to me to have a lot of kids. I came from a big family and I wanted to have a big family. We wanted the same things; I wanted her to stay home and I would provide. It’s very old-fashioned, and believe me, I couldn’t do what she does. When I’m home for a couple of days, I think, “Oh my God, when am I going back to work?” [laughs] I give moms all the props in the world.
But professionally, within the next five years, we want to have a bakery on every continent. So we’re working on that and we’re expanding the restaurants. We have a production company, so we do all my filming, plus we just sold a couple of shows, so we’re wearing a producer hat, which is fun. I want to produce content that’s family-friendly and good. I film 40-80 episodes of television a year and now we have a lot more international opportunities, because Cake Boss is aired in 220 countries internationally and it’s been viewed by like 1 ½ billion people.
If you stop and think about that…
Buddy: No, you can’t grasp that. Whether you’re in Colombia or Poland, and you’re walking through the streets and it’s like walking through the streets here because people recognize you, it’s incredible.
Now, Christmas is just a few days away. How do the Valastros celebrate Christmas?
Buddy: The Valastro’s celebrate Christmas together and with lots of food! We wake up early, open presents, the extended family starts trickling in throughout the day and we just spend time together, nibbling on lots of things before having a big dinner.
What are some special traditions?
Buddy: We wait until we’re all together to unwrap our gifts, no matter what. The entire famiglia has to sit in one room and once that happens, we go to town!
Who does the cooking on Christmas and what dishes/desserts are made?
Lisa: I do all the cooking! Dessert comes home from whichever Carlo’s Bakery location Buddy is working at. I cook for days leading up to Christmas; it can be really tiring but the whole family really appreciates it and I love getting to do that for them.
What is your favorite dish to make for the family?
Lisa: The family really enjoys my amazing eggplant parmesan and that’s a dish we have at all of our special occasions!