We were so excited and privileged to be featured on TLC’s Bakery Boss with Buddy Valastro of the hit show Cake Boss which aired on Monday December 30th. Buddy came into our bakery to give us a face lift and to help us take our cakes, decorating skills and entire bakery to the next level…To Become the Best, Landmark Bakery in Philly! (This would make my Dad Tom proud).
Buddy, a family oriented, 4th generation baker, immediately noticed how close knit our family is and the desire we have to keep the legacy (especially in my father Tom’s memory) alive. He is a tough critic and it was rough at first, but it is his job to point out the issues, and then give us advice, suggestions and tools to improve. It was an emotional experience to say the lease; to reminisce about my dad (who passed away), to be challenged on recipes we have used for generations, and then to see the transformation of our main location. We saw it go from a cluttered, eclectic store with loud colors and an old worn out sign to a beautiful new looking location that appears bigger, cleaner, brighter and upscale. My favorite part was the Oteri Family wall of black and white generational photographs of the family, highlighting my dad. It is beautiful…the color is perfect; everything is right and something that my father would have done. He definitely would approve. We are an old school Italian Bakery with a modern twist!
He tasted and critiqued some of our cakes and pastries, but the big test was for our best selling, most loved product; our cannoli with a recipe we have used and passed down for 100 years. Say what you want about anything but DON”T mess with my cannoli! Buddy liked our cannoli but thought his was better so we challenged him to a taste test, and would let the customers decide! After all, according to Jimmy (Assistant manager and part of the Oteri’s Bakery family for over 40 years), he has been making cannoli cream longer than Buddy has been alive! We stand by our cannoli! We are proud of our cannoli and although our customers love them, the challenge did not go our way. Buddy offered us his recipe to use moving forward but completely understood and respected us if we continued with our 100 year old recipe! Everyone wants to know what we decided to do…his cream or ours? What do you think??
A highlight of the show was when we were asked by Buddy to make a cake for Geno Vento of Genos’ Steak’s (a legendary South Philadelphia landmark) 47th Anniversary to feed 2000 people and be presented at The Philadelphia Art Museum (Another Philadelphia Landmark). We had one day’s notice and it was the biggest challenge to date! It was a 12 foot long, 600 pound cheese steak cake made with fondant! We did it! Thousands of people gathered at The Art Museum and we were thrilled when Geno said “Oteri’s delivered! We are coming back! Next time we need a cake we know where to go!”
It was an amazing opportunity to work with Buddy. It may have been rough at first, but in the end we were one big happy family and ended the episode with a big family HUG! We are very grateful to Buddy for giving us a wonderful, eye-opening experience! Thanks to your expertise and advice, we know we WILL be the best bakery in Philly and become a Philadelphia Landmark and a household name!
From Our Family to Yours with Love!