A Hoboken-based reality show that has gained national popularity is about to have a new Hudson County angle. While the job market isn’t favorable, pastry chef Buddy Valastro of the TLC show “Cake Boss” is about to award a new job as an assistant at Carlo’s Bake Shop, located at 95 Washington St. (Parking not included.)
Ten bakers will compete for the job – as well as a $50,000 prize – in a spin-off show entitled “Next Great Baker.” One of the contestants is Jersey City resident Greg “Greggy” Soriano.
Soriano is currently a wedding cake designer and aspiring Broadway star. He has previously said he wants to be like Valastro, who is now one of the better known cake designers in the country.
“I’m not comfortable being on top of a cake.” – Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer
Soriano attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He credits Bettie Van NorStrand and Dieter Schorner as his instructors in the cake industry.
In addition to his new experience on TLC, he was cast as “Greggy” from Beauty and the Geek on the CW Network, and has designed cakes for wedding shows on television, as well as a replica of the Titanic for the show “Royal Pains.”
In his audition tape for the show, Soriano said he would describe his personality as “fun, quirky, goofy, creative, talented” and said he is a “perfectionist.”
“It has always been my dream to become a celebrity chef,” Soriano said in his audition tape to TLC.
It seems as if food and design is something in his blood.
“I want to do this for my father, he passed away when I was in high school and he was the most amazing chef ever,” he said.
Soriano also said his mother is an amazing chef.
“I want to be my own brand,” he said in his audition. “I can show people something different design wise, something modern.”
Local roots continue
The Hoboken based show has brought tourism to the area, but it hasn’t forgotten its Hudson County roots.
On Monday, Nov. 29, the Hoboken Homeless Shelter was featured on the program, as the bakery donated desserts to the shelter located at Third and Bloomfield streets.
Carlo's has also made a 100th anniversary cake for Fiore's Deli on Adams Street in Hoboken, including that in an episode. It also has featured Mr. L’s Hair Creations, a barber shop at Sixth Street and Park Avenue.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer also took part in the filming of an episode of “The Next Great Baker” earlier this year. The date of Zimmer’s appearance has yet to be announced.
“I wanted to promote Hoboken,” Zimmer said. “I interviewed finalists who had to design a Hoboken-themed cake for myself.”
Zimmer said the process was somewhat stressful, as she attended to city business during the breaks, fielding phone calls from members of her administration. The cakes Zimmer had to choose from both had pictures of her on the cake. One cake depicted Zimmer on her bicycle, and the other on top of a cake.
Spoiler alert: Zimmer picked…wait for it…the cake with her on the bicycle.
“I’m not comfortable being on top of a cake,” Zimmer said. “But I am comfortable riding my bicycle.”
Carlo’s Bakery will be opening a new Jersey City warehouse near the Holland Tunnel, as the business is growing.
The “Next Great Baker” begins on Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. on TLC.
Ray Smith can be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com.