Buddy Valastro, Jr was born in March 3, 1977 is an Italian American celebrity chef, entrepreneur, and reality television personality. He is the owner of Carlo's Bakery, as well as the face of Buddy.
He is perhaps best known as the star of the reality television series Cake Boss, which premiered in April 2009 and has just started a new season in the month of September 2015. He also has starred Kitchen Boss in 2011, The Next Great Baker in 2010 and Buddy's Bakery Rescue in 2013.
Buddy Valastro had resided in East Hanover Township, New Jersey, with his wife Lisa, and four children, Sofia Valastro, Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro III, Marco Valastro, and Carlo Valastro. He also has four sisters and a stepfather, Sergio. As of 2014, he resided in Montville, New Jersey.
Valastro is the owner and head baker of Carlo's Bakery—the bakery featured on Cake Boss. Carlo's has since opened 12 more bakeries due to the popularity of the show.
In January 2012, as a result of the attention that the shop and the TV series had brought to the city of Hoboken, the Hudson Reporter named Valastro as an honorable mention in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people.
Carlo's Bakery currently has 6 locations in New Jersey—Hoboken, Marlton, Morristown, Red Bank, Ridgewood, and Westfield. Outside of New Jersey, the bakery operates locations in Philadelphia, Las Vegas and New York .The bakery also has locations on nine of the Norwegian Cruise Lines .The Lackawanna Factory in nearby Jersey City, serves as the corporate office for the business and is used as additional space to create wedding and specialty cakes, as well as bake their specialty baked goods for shipment across the country.
Valastro launched an Event Planning & Catering company, Buddy V's Events. The company was launched in June 2014, and specializes in catering everything from corporate events to family gathers, as well as planning one-of-a-kind events from weddings to galas.
His mother was battling the debilitating condition ALS. But Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro has revealed that his mother Mary is still as fiery as she has ever been despite her condition. She was diagnosed in 2012 with the neurodegenerative disease, which affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, and is also known as motor neuron disease.
It has made the 37-year-old more passionate than most about the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge, doing it himself last week and nominating his bakery staff, as well as his fans on social media.
Talking about their relationship, he told People: 'She's still my mom. She still yells at me. She still calls me. She still drives me a little crazy. She'll never stop being my mom.'
And the TLC star believes they are extremely lucky, despite the 66-year-old being diagnosed back in 2012 with the condition.
He said: 'She's got good days, she's got bad days. You've gotta look at it (glass) half-full, we've been blessed
'The form of ALS my mom has, it's not really attacking her breathing or her speech. It's more of her limbs, so she can't really walk or move too much."
Buddy, who also started his own Mama Mary Foundation charity after his mother's diagnosis, said: 'The worst part about ALS is that one day you're able to brush your teeth, then you'll never be able to brush your teeth again.
One day you're able to walk, you're never going to walk again. The basic functionalities of life are stricken from you day by day. 'I've seen the most independent, lively person that I've ever met in my life, I mean she was just like a ball of energy, reduced to not being able to do anything for herself. 'And I think that's the part that kills her the most because she was the matriarch. So did so many things for everyone. 'And now everyone has to do for her, which nobody minds doing, it's just a big pill to swallow.'
I'm glad this horrific disease is getting more attention these days. Because it's rare, pharmaceutical companies do no invest much in research for treatment, let alone a cure. It just wouldn't be profitable enough. In the past 75 years or so since Lou Gehrig famously retired from the Yankees because of this disease, there have been almost no advances in its treatment. At most, modern medications can prolong life by only a few months and don't do much to lessen the symptoms. It's a vicious and cruel disease, and it's invariably fatal.
For years Mary Valastro helped out at the family business: Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., run first by her husband, then her son Buddy Valastro. She kept busy doing paperwork and tying up boxes of cakes, cookies and cannolis. But when she began feeling weakness in her fingers, Mary-who also appears on Buddy's hit TLC reality show Cake Boss-was sure she knew the cause. "I thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome. I had the surgery and everything," she says. "It just never got better."
Increasingly frustrated by the weakness in her hands, which hindered her ability to write or even button her pants, and alarmed when the feeling moved to her legs, Mary, 64, consulted four doctors for a diagnosis, finally visiting the Mayo Clinic with Buddy, 35, last summer for answers. The diagnosis came as a shocking blow: She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, it is a rapid degenerative nerve disease that leads to loss of muscle control. "As the doctors told us there was nothing they could do except make her comfortable, it was like a truck hit us," says Buddy, sitting close to his mom on the couch in her Hoboken high-rise. "I thought, 'Why, God, why?'"
The diagnosis came as Carlo's Bakery had finally skyrocketed after a lifetime of hard work. Buddy's father, Buddy Sr., had died in 1994, when his son was just 17. Dropping out of school to run the bakery as a teenager, Buddy eventually turned it into an international tourist destination thanks to Cake Boss, which debuted in 2009. All the while Mama Valastro "was singing and dancing around the bakery, greeting customers and managing everything," Buddy says. Mary, who retired in 2010, "got remarried to a nice man, and they were going to enjoy themselves," Buddy says. "She didn't deserve this."
Suddenly adjusting to a slower-pace lifestyle has been devastating to Mary. "I was always so active. Now I can't even walk across the street because I could collapse," she says, her voice shaking. The family is relieved that her form of ALS is slower progressing than others, which can quickly impede speech and the ability to breathe independently. (Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure within five years of the onset of symptoms, though 10 percent of patients survive for more than a decade.) Even so, Mary is blunt about her prognosis: "It still sucks."
As Mary is increasingly in need of help with everything from cutting her food to brushing her hair, "taking care of her is a group effort," says Buddy. "That is, if she'll let us." Buddy, his wife, Lisa, and his four sisters all pitch in to help Mary's husband, Sergio Piccinich, with day-to-day care-and emotional support. "We're trying to get her to understand that it's okay to use a wheelchair," Buddy says. "The only fights we've had have been us trying to get her more help and her saying she doesn't want it."
Although Buddy researches ALS treatments every day online in hopes of a breakthrough, the family is prepared for the reality of Mary's situation. "My main concern now is to keep her fighting and moving and keep her spirits up," he says. "You have to have the will to fight."