Ben Roethlisberger. The Black Eyed Peas. Jerry Jones. And the Cake Boss?
Yep, Chef Buddy Valastro of the hit TLC reality show “Cake Boss” is coming to Dallas. He’s a special guest at Taste of the NFL, a charity event that has combined football greats with some of the country’s top chefs for two decades to raise money for Feeding America and its affiliated food banks. The “Party with a Purpose” is always held the night before the Super Bowl in the host city.
Valastro will be creating a special cake to celebrate the 20th anniversary, and he couldn’t be more excited.
“This is such a great honor to be asked to be a part of this," Valastro says. "I’m a big advocate of giving back. We always give to homeless shelters around the bakery in Hoboken and Jersey City. It’s just hard to imagine that today in America, there are people starving.”
Valastro has never been to Dallas. He’s a huge Giants fan, and even though his team didn’t make it and the big game is taking place in the house of his division rival, he’s eager to check out the sights.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the new stadium. Jerry Jones and Dallas are kind of like the Yankees of football,” he says. “I’m sure it’s all pimped out.”
When the Giants failed to make the playoffs, Valastro started rooting for the Jets, hoping that maybe a New York team could win it all. Now he’s leaning towards the Steelers. But before he can even think about the Super Bowl, he’s got a lot of work to do. Tickets for the event cost $500 each, and Valastro is committed to help giving guests their money’s worth.
Since the event started in Minneapolis in 1992, Taste of the NFL has raised more than $10 million, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it for a great cause, but the signature party boasts more than 32 stations, one for each NFL city, where guests can sample amazing food and meet some of their football heroes.
Andy Russell, Steve Largent and Jack Youngblood are just a few of the NFL greats who will be in attendance. There will be plenty of culinary royalty as well, including Tom Colicchio, Todd English and Nancy Silverton, who were all part of the first ever Taste of the NFL.
It’s an important night for an important cause, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for a little fun on the side. There’s a tradition of a friendly wager between the chefs whose teams are in the Super Bowl: Sanford D’Amato hails from Wisconsin with a spiced Wisconsin cranberry broth with crispy walnut cranberry turnover and maple cream; Anthony Zallo will be repping Pittsburgh with his gnocchi with exotic mushrooms, gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.
(Pause to wipe away drool.)
They’ve been a part of the event for nine and five years respectively. Although the bet isn’t official yet, D’Amato said he’d put up some Wisconsin cheese. Zallo is offering some traditional Steel City pierogi.
The two chefs will have to wait until Sunday to see who prevails, but Saturday night has plenty excitement of its own. That’s when Buddy Valastro will unveil his confectionary masterpiece.
The design for his 20th anniversary cake is being kept under wraps, but he’s not afraid to tease just how grand it will be.
“It’s going to be a really big cake because we’re going to Texas. Go big or go home,” he says. “It’s going to be something mind-blowing. It’ll be Cake Boss worthy.”