Buddy Valestro has been running his family bakery since he was 17. Today, customers line up for Buddy's sweet treats, and millions tune in to see him at work on his TLC show, Cake Boss. Now he's taking on one of his biggest jobs to date: making a cake for Oprah!
His beautiful—and delicious—creation is a cake in the shape of Oprah's favorite tree, complete with Oprah and her dogs sitting beneath it. "I wanted to make something that made you feel happy," Buddy says. "And I know that you love to sit under your oak tree."
The first time Buddy worked in a bakery, it was as a punishment. "Me and my friends got caught actually playing with matches. I was 11," Buddy says. "So [my dad] says: 'You want to play around with your friends on weekends? I'm going to put you to work, and you're going to start to understand what it's really like to work.' So I went to the bakery, and to my amazement, I instantaneously loved it." From that moment, Buddy says he knew he wanted to be a baker.
Buddy's dreams were initially inspired by his father, he says. "I so looked up to him and he was my idol and my mentor, and I wanted to be just like him," Buddy says. "My dad passed away when I was 17, and me and my family had to keep the business running, and I had to step into my father's shoes, which were really big shoes to fill."
When it comes to landing your dream job, Buddy says it's about working hard, following your dreams and finding your zone. "It's like an artist painting his painting. I don't hear nothing. I feel no pain, and I just concentrate," he says. "When you're done, you feel like you're so tired because you gave everything you have into that project, but you look at what you made and you're like, 'Wow.'"