New Jersey has given the world mob bosses and “The Boss,” as in Bruce Springsteen.
But now the state has Buddy Valastro, dubbed the “Cake Boss” on his popular TLC show of the same name.
Sure, cake and machismo don’t normally go hand in hand. But Valastro runs his Hoboken, N.J. bake shop with larger-than-life bravado, creating cakes that resemble motorcycles, fire trucks and zombies. And he’s taking that persona on the road, coming to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Tuesday night.
“It’s a holiday family show,” he said in a recent interview. “Bring your four year old and yourgreat grandma. It’s set to holiday music to get people in the spirit.”
During his 20-city tour, Valastro tells stories about how became the “Cake Boss,” takes questions from the audience and offers the crowd basic cake decorating tips “so your cakes can look a little like mine.” He brings people on stage to compete to win prizes.
The worst thing that has clouded his spirit this year is his mother Mary’s battle with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “It’s one of those things you can’t do anything about except make her as comfortable as possible,” he said. “It’s very tough.”
The show starts filming its sixth season in January. With two other TLC shows “Next Great Baker” and “Kitchen Boss,” Valastro spends 10 to 11 months a year with cameras in tow. He’s used to his hectic schedule: “You take things one day at a time. I do as much as I can and go with it. That’s what we do.”
TLC came up with his nickname “Cake Boss” when the show debuted in 2009, part of a raft of cake-oriented reality shows such as “Ace of Cakes” and “D.C. Cupcakes.”
He said he was skeptical of the name at first because he thought “it came across as too cocky,” Valastro said. “Now I really embrace the name.”
Valastro is surrounded by sweets all the time but says he hasn’t gained weight in recent years. “The camera adds 15, 20 pounds,” he said. “Everyone says I look skinnier in real life.”
“At the end of the day,” he added, “how many people trust a skinny baker?”
“Buddy Valastro Live: Cake Boss”
7:30 p.m. Tuesday. $35.75-$45.75 plus fees. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800, www.cobbenergycentre.com.