The Food Network has Ace of Cakes, TLC has The Cake Boss, so WE tv is pulling out the pink cake by featuring openly gay baker, Vinny Buzzetta, in the newly premiered Staten Island Cakes.
When I saw a sneak peek of the show, I realized I needed to hop on the Staten Island Ferry to meet the budding pasty chef, check out his bakery, and get the scoop behind Staten Island Cakes. I’m not quite sure what’s up with cute baker gay guys these days, but Vinnie is surely giving San Francisco’s Top Chef: Just Desserts winner, Yigit Pura, a run for the money in that department. It would be interesting to compare their desserts, side by side:
I thought about Vinny’s bio on the ride from the Whitehall to St. George. Against his parent’s wishes, he skipped college to attend the French Culinary Institute of New York City. He was the youngest person to ever complete the program and graduated first in his class. With the help of his grandfather (“Crazy Joe”), Vinny opened Cake Artist, the hottest bakery in Staten Island. I imagined Vinny sculpting an enormous Statue of Liberty cake and placing it in his bakery window for my arrival. Or something like that.
When I made it to the store, Vinny looked up and, with a smile that might give Julia Roberts a run for her money, began showing me around. What he described was more hard work than glamour.
“At the beginning of the week we do a lot of baking, towards the end of the week we do a lot of decorating, covering, stacking,” he explained. “Throughout the course of the day I’m not just baking and decorating–I’m paying the bills, going to the bank, mopping the floor, cleaning the bathroom, dealing with customers. I’m doing everything.”
I followed Vinny into his kitchen where he was working on a new cake. “I started cakes when I was fourteen or fifteen,” he continued. “The past couple years have gone by so fast. Every holiday I’d go online and find recipes, and make something new.”
Vinny’s hands were now working quickly, beating eggs and mixing sugar. He looked up with a coy smile, “Chocolate cake, I just love chocolate. I love dessert. I could just live off dessert and never eat dinner ever again.” So could we, if dessert always looked this good!
But one can’t live on cake alone. So Vinny has constructed a full gay life in a place not exactly known for it. Vinny and his boyfriend, Spiro, have been together for over a year. They met at Dance Sensations, the dance studio where Spiro teaches at on Long Island. “We met about three years ago, my ex at the time was taking dance lessons at the studio he was working. Spiro’s a contemporary and lyrical teacher. I love to watch him dance.”
I asked if Vinny’s a dancer as well. “I’m a horrible dancer,” he blushed. “He definitely has the dancing skills. But at least I can bake.”
Vinny took a break from mixing and continued showing me around. He displayed models for his recent cakes, including one for the cast of Broadway’s Billy Elliot, one for Bella magazine, and of course one for Jersey Shore‘s Angelina Pivarnick.
I shook Vinny’s hand, gave him a big Queerty hug, and wished him luck with the show. From what I’ve already seen of the first episode, it’s gonna be a big gay hit.
Photos by JJ Keyes