Who knew there was so much history behind the original Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ? Buddy Valastro became the star of the hit reality show Cake Boss back in 2009, making himself — and his family — a household name. But, many fans want to know why Buddy’s dad isn’t in the picture, especially since the bakery used to be his.
Buddy Valastro Sr. sadly died in 1994 at age 54, three months after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Buddy was just 17 years old at the time, but he was forced to become the man of the house (he has four older sisters) and later the bakery. Buddy has credited his success to his father, who bought the bakery back in 1964 after years of working there. When Buddy started working for his dad back in the ’80s, he was only a dishwasher!
“My dad had me work from the bottom up,” Buddy told The National of their bond. “It was important to him that I learn every aspect of the business from dishwashing to decorating. I started out helping him and learning from the way he did things.”
This past Father’s day, Buddy remembered his late father on Instagram with a collection of heartwarming throwback photos. “This is for the man who made me who I am today. You taught me everything I know and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you,” he wrote. “I only wish you could see us all now! I love you, I miss you, and I’m always thinking of you. Happy Father’s Day daddy!”
Sadly, Buddy also lost his mother, Mary, in June after a long battle with ALS. “It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I must share the news of my mother’s passing. She left for heaven this morning, surrounded by the family,” he wrote at the time of her death. “This is a difficult time for all of us and I do ask for your patience and respect while we let this sink. Her battle with ALS has ended, she is no longer suffering, and I hope she’s dancing to I Will Survive with my dad right now.”
Today, Buddy respects the memory of his parents — and it seems he plans to carry on their legacy for much longer. “This is truly a family business,” he said of the bakery. “This is where we grew up and it’s what we love to do. Very early on, my mom and dad instilled a very strict work ethic in me and my sisters. We work hard to keep the bakery successful.”