Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Buddy this Week: Cake & Bakery Boss

I decided to combine Buddy Valastro's TLC shows into one post this week because of Garrett. That probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but Garrett was a competitor on yet another of Valastro's shows, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, but wound up withdrawing from competition due to his anxiety. Ashley went on to win that season, so the focus on her in this week's Cake Boss seemed to be linked to Lidia's issues in Bakery Boss. On that note, I had forgotten that Buddy suffered from anxiety here and there, though it has been mentioned before. I've had obsessive-compulsive issues since I was seven, and while I am rarely physically affected in an interfering way, I can relate to being unable to control oneself when certain situations arise. I was intrigued that Lidia went from being fairly nonchalant about the bakery's success to being gung-ho and ready to lead, given her uncertainty over whether she knew what she was doing. Of course, on that note, I agreed with her - it probably would have behooved her to work for someone as a decorator or baker for a while to see what sells, how to display/market your goods, etc., but maybe it'll all work out.

Cake Boss "Next Great Bride" (S06E21): Ashley and her fiance have moved to Tennessee with their chickens, dog, and cat. [but she's still at the bakery in New Jersey? or the interview was just later?] The couple will be married at a winery with a hot air balloon to go up and down, and Carlo's is going to do both the wedding cake and the groom's cake. [that's a lot of cattails!] Ashley wants pinwheels on the cake and a hollow heart inside one of the layers, plus the whole thing will be topped off with a taxidermied mice cake topper. [yeah...] The groom's cake features their pets playing ping pong and fishing. [I thought it was a really cute idea, as was the beans & eggs thing.] Anthony makes fun of the cake, so Buddy challenges him to ping pong - if Anthony wins, he'll have an easy summer schedule. But, he loses, and he has to have his whole body waxed. [doing it in the bakery was rough and kinda gross!] Danny and Anthony deliver the cakes to Kentucky [I didn't care for Ashley's wedding cake... so weird.] Ashley's mom isn't thrilled for the dead rodents on the cake, [I've never seen someone freak out like Ashley before the wedding. or during the ceremony, for that matter!]

Cake Boss "Carlo's Cowboys" (S06E22): Some "East Coast Rodeo Cowboys" ask for a cake for a bull-riding clinic, and Buddy does a six-foot tall cake that is a rider on a horse, complete with a spinning lasso! [loved Ralph's puns! also, that cake looked amazing! see for yourself to the right!] a lot of the family members go to the delivery, and Anthony and Maurizio get to try riding bulls, lasting 7 and 5 seconds, respectively. The other guys gets to ride horses while the girls muck the stalls. [Mauro was funny.]

Ben and Anne are getting married in a surprise ceremony, so Buddy does a cake for them that incorporated the lace designs in Anne's gown. [I like watching Buddy and Liz work together.]

Bakery Boss "Lidia's Bakeshop & Cafe" (S01E06): Buddy visits Dobbs Ferry, NY, an affluent town 45 min N of Manhattan, where Lidia is pushed by her mother into running a bakery. [Lidia never does say what she was doing that wasn't "in-field" before starting this project.] Though Lidia does want this career and has degrees in culinary arts, she feels like she was rushed into this at a young age and without the proper experience. They've been open six months and make $200-$400 a day (they're open 6 days/week), with four employees. Lidia isn't sure how big the loss is, though, as her mother owns the building so they use it rent-free, and the woman also invested about $100k in renovations and appliances. [holy cow! That $5-10k/month estimate is probably right!]

There are big organization problems, the feel isn't "bakery," the showcases aren't full,and they don't sell cakes (sliced or whole). [that recipe search was disastrous!] Their biggest seller, in fact, are panini, which is odd for a place with a big sign that says "bakery." The cupcakes are frosted to order, but when things aren't out to see, it's hard to order them. [she really believed that she should wait until the last possible second to ice them?] The cupcakes are good, the pignoli is really hard and looks boring, and although the brownies are individually wrapped, they are so hard that they break a fork! [MY brownies aren't that hard in four days!] 

When a customer comes in wanting 20 cupcakes, and they have none because the freezer is full of cookie dough, Lidia attempts to get them made in 45 minutes. However, the rush causes her to have a panic attack, so Buddy asks the group to close the store and go home. He chats with Lidia about the situation, and when she seems determined to make it work, he has her show him her cake decorating skills the following morning. The reason the store doesn't sell fondant cakes is because Lidia feels she's too busy to do them, even though she does a great job. [she definitely has an eye for this!]

Buddy does some renovation to the front of the bakery, including making room for dummy cakes on the shelves. [I'm SHOCKED they didn't have any!] Lidia will also be able to decorate behind glass for customers to watch. [I'd have been wary of installing that in a store where the lead baker has frequent panic attacks...] The kitchen got a sheeter, too, along with a nice new inventory and cash register system.] There's an easy menu for the staff to handle so that Lidia will be able to focus on cakes, and Buddy even shows her some decorating techniques. [I actually wanted to go into my kitchen and make a chocolate tart, LoL.] Then, they have a grand re-opening and Buddy even arranges for Lidia to make a sweet sixteen cake for 40 people. Though it's due the same day, she is able to incorporate "pink" and "jewelry" and even do the cake in the window. [I thought the middle tier was a bit plain, but maybe I'm just so not a pink person that I couldn't process its pros. also, personal pet peeve, I hate it when vendors promote themselves at events. and, the kids at the party seemed way younger than 16 for the most part.] A few months later, they're selling 30% more. [I don't know that I would have done away with the panini entirely, as it was their big money maker... plus, 30% more is only making $520/day max, so let's hope she meant 300% more?]
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