He's turned himself into a household name thanks to fantastical desserts like the life-sized NASCAR race car crafted from 24 individual cakes or the 14-foot Statue of Liberty confection. (Oh, okay and a half dozen or so Food Network shows.)
But Buddy Valastro was never supposed to be the Cake Boss. In fact, his father, a third-generation baker, expressly forbid it.
Bartolo Valastro (nicknamed Buddy by his American friends) landed in the states from Sicily with neither money nor shoes. Pulling himself up from the proverbial bootstraps he diverted from the bread-making business purveyed by his father and grandfather back in Italy and purchased Carlo's Bakery (so named for original owner Carlo Guastaffero) in Hoboken, New Jersey at 25. A year later he married Mary Valastro and together they created pastries and a family, four daughters followed by little Bartolo Valastro Jr.