Buddy Valastro Explains How He Earned The Name 'Cake Boss' - Exclusive

Buddy Valastro presides over an impressive baking and media empire. His family business, Carlo's Bakery, has several locations across the U.S., and as he told Mashed in an exclusive interview, Carlo's even has international locations now. That's not to mention his many television shows and his recently-announced deal with A&E (which might involve a role in a Lifetime movie). His latest venture is a partnership with Klondike ice cream — the company is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and naturally, nobody but the Cake Boss himself could make Klondike's birthday cake.

Valastro's life is a classic American rags-to-riches story. His father, Bartolo, came to America with nothing but was able to eventually buy the New Jersey bakery he worked in — Carlo's (via Vanity Fair). After Bartolo's untimely death, Buddy took over the business at the ripe old age of 17. Although he was thrust into a leadership role very early in life, Buddy was able to slowly build Carlo's, and his own personal brand, into the big business it is today.

Buddy has a lot to be proud of, and he does take pride in his accomplishments. But while you might think somebody who calls himself the Cake Boss would have a big ego, nothing could be further from the truth. In his interview with Mashed, he told us the real reason he deserves the name "Cake Boss."

Hard work earned Buddy the Cake Boss title

As with many aspects of Buddy Valastro's life, his management style was influenced by his father's advice. As he recounted, "My dad taught me as a kid, 'You never have to tell anybody you're the boss ... It's in what you do. It's in the way you work.'"

That means Buddy leads by example and doesn't hesitate to do any job at the bakery, even the most menial: "To this day, I'll go in the back and I'll scrub the floors with people." It also means Buddy puts in long hours when the business is busy during the Christmas rush, working 18-hour days five days a week and even sleeping in the bakery.

While this may have not been the easiest path for Buddy to take as the boss, it proved worthwhile in the long run. By struggling in the trenches with his employees, Valastro earned the kind of respect that can't be built any other way. As he tells it, he didn't have to call himself the Cake Boss, because the title fell on him naturally due to how he worked and ran the business. In his words, "People will respect you when you've earned it. There's no better kind of respect that you could ever get."

Now through July 16, 2022, fans can enter to win their own Klondike 100th birthday cake by posting a photo or video on Instagram of themselves completing a decades-themed "What Would You Do for a Klondike" challenge with #4aKlondike100Sweepstakes and tagging @klondikebar in the caption. More information can be found here.

You can try out Buddy Valastro's baking at Carlo's Bakery, which also ships nationally.