The star of the TLC series Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, hit the State Theatre in Easton for a performance earlier this week. What exactly does the host of a baking show do during a live tour? That’s exactly what we went to find out.
The set itself was simple: four large backdrop pieces, decorated to looks like his famous Carlo’s Bakery, with a large decorating table across the center of the stage. A large screen hung above, allowing the crowd to (mostly) see the intricacies of his work.
This was Mr. Valastro’s second visit to the State Theatre, where he toured previously in 2010. After an introduction by the State Theatre’s President and CEO Shelley Brown, the lights dimmed and Valastro came down the center aisle, high fiving on his way to the stage. After shooting a few t-shirts into the crowd, he quickly launched into a cupcake decorating session, something he stressed can be done at home and anyone can learn.
He then preened a bit, showing off what nearly 20 years of cake decorating will bring in the way of skill and repetition, by piping an icing rose while blindfolded. After demonstrating a few techniques to the crowd, he started his first ‘contest’ to give away his creations. He and his assistants batted a few beachballs out into the crowd while playing music. When the music stopped, he invited those who had them to come grab a cupcake.
He then spoke about the show, thanking his fans for their support and concern for his mother, who is currently battling ALS after retiring from the bakery and the show. He then went on to introduce a few new ventures he’s opening, including a restaurant in Vegas, a decorating class/bakery on a cruise line, a new Kitchen Nightmares-style bakery show, and a new book. He also gave a shout out to Easton-based baking company Sweet Girlz for making his cake bases for the evening.
Through the hour and a half show he showed the crowd how to make a two fondant cakes, a timely turkey cake for Thanksgiving, how to fill a cannoli, and a few other decorating tips. After each decorating tip he held a contest to give away the cakes, inviting mothers, grandmothers, dads, and families onto the stage to compete to win. And that was the essence of the show: a family affair. If you went to see insane cakes like the ones on the show, learn advanced fondant construction, or to see hardcore foodie stuff, it wasn’t the show for you. The general silliness, ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’-inducing speed decorating, and tone of the show was matched perfectly for a family outing, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering how much of his family is included on his show itself.
And that’s not a criticism, just an observation for those who may be going to see him in the future. The only criticisms to really wager were the fact that, even though there were audience question and answer segments peppered throughout the show, he didn’t really give a whole lot of insight into the show or share any overly comical behind-the-scenes tidbits. He also could’ve, instead of doing yet another speed decorating bit where he iced a red velvet cake with plain buttercream in 26 seconds, shown the crowd something a bit more sophisticated, even if it was something that would’ve been difficult to do at home.
While the show didn’t sell out, there was a sizeable crowd present, as well as a good amount of people who ponied up for the meet & greet. It was a fun act, one that shouldn’t have left many of his fans disappointed, and one that made you want to dive head first into a vat of buttercream.