Sunday, October 31, 2010
Alexandria Mills of the United States reacts after being crowned as winner of the 2010 Miss World pageant contest at the Beauty Crown Cultural Center in Sanya, in southern China's island province Hainan, Saturday. | AP Photo - Alexander F. Yuan
BEIJING — The newest Miss World is from the United States.
Alexandria Mills, a soft-spoken 18-year-old, was named the winner in Saturday night’s contest in southern China. The tall blonde was a relative surprise winner after speculation focused on other contestants.
Second place went to Emma Wareus of Botswana, and Adriana Vasini of Venezuela came third.
The host country’s own contestant, Tang Xiao, also was among the final five.
According to a brief biography on the Miss World website, Mills calls Louisville, Kentucky, her hometown, and she recently graduated from high school. She would like to become a teacher.
“I’ve never met a stranger and enjoy meeting new people,” she says in the bio.
For the final, she was wearing a shimmering ivory-colored dress slit up the leg.
Mills takes over the title from Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar, who was named Miss World 2009 at a ceremony in South Africa last December.
Women from more than 100 countries participated in the contest, organizers said.
This is the 60th year of the Miss World Competition, and organizers brought back contestants from past decades to give the night a retrospective theme.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Buddy Valastro, star of "Cake Boss" on TLC.
WAUKEGAN — When Gary Zabinski, general manager of the Genesee Theatre, first heard about “Buddy Valastro: Cake Boss — The Bakin’ with the Boss Tour,” an interactive theater performance hosted by front man for TLCs wildly famous “Cake Boss” reality show, his first thought was: “Man, is there going to be cake all over my theater?”
But Zabinski’s second thought, and one that swayed him to book the show for Nov. 12, was how exciting it would be for someone like Valastro, so representative of modern day popular culture, to perform at the Genesee.
“Right now, Buddy Valastro is riding the crest of a wave of a leading reality show,” Zabinski said. “Young adults and teens are absolutely enthralled with him.”
Zabinski said the theater is selling 10 to 12 tickets per day to Valastro’s show, remarkably above average, he emphasized, for their stage, which is most often set for Broadway shows and musicals.
But Valastro’s show will be among the few interactive performances at Genesee — “Into the Wild” star Jack Hanna appeared in 2009 and notable chef Anthony Bourdain headlined there earlier this year. “Bourdain’s show, which was a speaking engagement, featured a question-and-answer session,” Zabinski said. “He was completely fascinating.”
Valastro, who said he was “100 percent involved in developing” his show, will also field audience questions. During the 17-city tour, Valastro has most often been asked which cake is his favorite. “My favorite cake is a life-size cake I made to resemble my wife, Lisa,” he said.
Valastro has been married to Lisa for nine years and lives with her in East Hanover, N.J. Their home is some 40 miles from Hoboken, where “Cake Boss” is filmed in Valastro’s family’s 100-year-old bakery, Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop.
His parents, Bartolo, Sr. (Buddy is Bartolo, Jr.) and Mary, bought the bakery in 1964. Valastro and his family employ about 100 people in their 10,000-square-foot bakery, where confections such as homemade cannoli shells and cakes as unusual as a full-sized racing car awe customers.
Inevitably during the question-and-answer session for Valastro’s road show, someone asks him what he would do if he wasn’t a baker.
“I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” the fourth-generation baker said. Valastro, 33, has been baking since he was 11 years old, when his Sicilian-born father, who died when Valastro was 17, taught him the family craft.
During his live show, Valastro invites 15 to 20 audience members on stage to learn some cake decorating techniques. He teaches participants how to decorate a wedding cake and coordinates “The Cupcake Challenge,” a design contest between “Cake Boss” enthusiasts.
“I like to poke fun at guys while they learn how to make roses and I laugh, watching them dance back to their seats, carrying the flowers to their wives,” Valastro chuckled. “‘Bakin’ With the Boss’ is a really good, clean family show — a great night out,” Valastro said.
He relishes the hand-shaking and autograph-signing session after the show. “I get to meet fans from all over the country,” he said. “It makes my work more worthwhile when someone tells me they’re on chemo and ‘Cake Boss’ made them laugh for the first time in months. I’m living the American Dream. The idea that you can achieve anything you want.”
While Valastro wants people to take laughter and happy feelings away from his show, Zabinski thinks audience members will be able to capture a close-up perspective of “Cake Boss:, the real person. “I hope people will come away with a more personalized idea of who Buddy is,” Zabinski said. “They will be able to get to see him as a person — 15 feet away from them.
“And maybe they’ll even get some cake in the face. That would be the ultimate interactive theater experience — to be slathered with frosting.”
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Last night's episode of Cake Boss opened with a meeting between Buddy and Amie Lee of the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Amie explains to Buddy that Myrtle Beach is celebrating 50 years of their boardwalk by building a new and longer, mile-long boardwalk. They want one of Carlos Bakery's famous cakes to commemorate the occasion.
What kind of cake do they want? A giant flip flop, of course.
Buddy seems unimpressed by the idea of a flip-flop cake. He feels like he is capable of something more impressive than a flip-flop. Amie explains there is nothing more indicative of the beach than a flip-flop and that she wants the "wow factor" to be the cake's size.
And then the bartering begins. "How big of a cake do you want?" Buddy asks. "Three, four, five feet?"
Amie replies that she wants a 15-foot cake. Buddy scoffs at this and they go back and forth until they split the difference at 10 feet by 3.5 feet. Buddy says that since they are going to deliver the cake to South Carolina themselves, that is the biggest cake that will fit in the van.
Amie seems pleased with their compromise and tells Buddy that the mayor will be coming up to Hoboken to check out the cake before it is sent down to Myrtle Beach for the event.
"She's gonna bring the mayor to see off the cake, so it better be a great cake," Buddy says.
Work on the cake commences with the baking of 200 sheets of sponge cake which they will cut out in the shape of a flip-flop. The thong will be made out of modeling chocolate.
"This is gonna be like King Kong's flip flop!" Buddy exclaims.
The first step they take is to draw out a template made of cardboard. There is some difficulty with this and it takes them a few attempts to get it right because of the sheer size of the template. Once they nail it, Joey gets to making the sponge cake right away.
Next up, they start making colorful squares out of fondant that will line the sole of the flip-flop. Some have a colorful tie-dyed effect, while others have creative die-cut designs. They also make a Myrtle Beach logo to go on the sole.
Cut to Buddy's second meeting of the episode - this one with two second grade teachers from Steven's Cooperative School. The teachers tell Buddy that they want a cake to celebrate the students graduating from second to third grade. The teachers mention that the kids eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and so Buddy has the idea to make a giant peanut butter and jelly sandwich cake.
"Frankie and I used to eat triple deckers when we were kids," Buddy tells the teachers. "We'll make a triple decker PB&J cake!" The teachers explain that they should have an option for the kids who have peanut allergies, so Buddy agrees to make a little cake on the side with only jelly, no peanut butter.
Joey calls to Buddy from over by the ovens to tell him that a shelf in the oven has fallen. Buddy explains that the ovens have been breaking down a lot lately and that he was planning on getting them fixed next month but he's going to have to deal with it now.
Joey then goes to work on the PB&J cake in the other oven. Buddy also turns his attention to the peanut butter and jelly cake. He makes jars of peanut butter and jelly made of rice crispy treats to go by the side of the sandwich cake.
Next, they cover the cake with white fondont and cut up strips of brown fondant to put around the perimeter of the cake made to look like crust.
Next, we see Buddy meeting with Angela Logan, who is the creator of the Mortgage Apple Cakes. She explains to Buddy that she baked 100 cakes in 10 days and sold them to friends in an attempt to save her home from foreclosure. And because so many people helped her in her time of need, she created a charity to give back. She continues to sell her apple cakes and gives a percentage to others trying to save their homes from foreclosure. Angela has come to Buddy hoping he will give her some new apple cake recipes.
Buddy says he can't give out Carlo's Bakery recipes to anyone, but he can give her some pointers. They hit the kitchen and he shows her some things she can use for her apple cakes and then invites her back to Carlo's Bakery anytime.
Back to the peanut butter and jelly cake. Buddy puts butter cream on top and pats it with a paper towel to make it look spongey like a slice of real bread.
Over at the flip-flop cake, Buddy and company trim the top to get rid of divets. "It's ginormous!" Buddy says. "It weights like 2,000 pounds. This may be the heaviest cake ever to come out of this bakery!"
Next, the oven installation guys show up and Buddy explains that the new oven needs to go upstairs and that they are going to have to forklift it.
The PB&J cake is finished and so they load the cake into the van and take it over to Steven's Cooperative School. The kids go absolutely nuts, screaming and jumping up and down when they see the cake. The children also made an adorable banner thanking the bakery for the cake.
Back at the bakery, the finishing touches are being laid on the flip-flop cake. Buddy and all of his co-workers are yawning because it's getting late, but the mayor of Myrtle Beach is on the way, so they've got to step on it.
Danny says, "These cakes are getting heavier and heavier, and we are getting older and older."
They add the tiles and stitching to the sole and cover the thong in brown modeling chocolate, just as Mayor Rhodes and Amie Lee are walking up to the bakery. The two visitors are visibly impressed and tell Buddy that he exceeded their expectations.
But, Buddy is concerned about the weight of the cake. It takes 10 people to get it loaded into the van and he worries about how it will get unloaded in Myrtle Beach with just Danny driving it down. In the end, he flies down to meet Danny in Myrtle Beach to oversee the process and everything works out great.
"Everyone in Myrtle Beach was warm and welcoming," Buddy said. "We'll see you on the boardwalk!"