Most restaurateurs and bakers will tell you they got into the business because of a love of their craft but quickly found the administrative end took up most of their time.
Buddy Valastro, head baker at his family-run Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J., and star of TLC's Monday unscripted series "Cake Boss," is one of the lucky ones. Though he admits he's found he has a flair for business, he still devotes equal time to baking, if for no other reason than quality control.
"At the end of the day, I'd rather be doing that than the business end of it. The problem is that I'm actually really good at the business end," he tells Zap2it, laughing. "It's like a blessing and a curse, you know? A lot of people usually can't do both, but I'm pretty good at both.
"It's funny," he continues, "I didn't have any schooling or training from a culinary standpoint, and I didn't have any schooling or training from a business or management standpoint. My way of learning was working at Carlo's bakery. And running a small business for 20 years really gave me a business sense to talk to CEOs of companies and heads of networks and stuff like that. I really, truly have to put that as the thing that's helped me so much, and if I didn't have that, I could not be the man that I am today."
And after two decades in the business, he still gets a charge out of watching someone enjoy one of his creations.
"I have my dream job," Valastro says. "I really do, and yesterday is a testament to that because I just had a long day, and at the end of the day I had to go finish a cake, and I lost myself in the cake. I forgot my problems of earlier that day, and I just kind of concentrated on doing something cool, and I stepped back and I was like, 'Wow, look what I did.' "
What are you currently reading?
"To tell you the truth, I don't read too many books, just because of the fact that my schedule is - I'm going to make a little confession. I don't get too much time for anything, and when I have spare time, I catch up on TV rather than read. I just want to veg and watch TV."
What did you have for dinner last night?
What is your next project?
"Well, we're working on a new show called 'Bakery Boss,' where I go around and fix up old bakeries ... And this new show is where I go and help struggling family bakeries revert and fix things up and give them a breath of fresh air, whether it's through menu or design or cleanup or whatever it is. And I think it's going to be a really great show because we're really helping people."
When was the last vacation you took -- where and why?
"True vacation, we went to Aruba, me and my family, over the new year. We usually try to go away for the new year, so we usually leave the day after Christmas and then go away until the new year, right before the kids have to go back to school. We loved it. We had a great time."
Photo/Video credit: TLC