Business was slow at Jenny Rissone’s North Miami bakery one day last October, so she decided to answer a casting call for a TV show hosted by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro.
“One day later, I was doing a Skype interview. The next week, they were here,” says Rissone, 34, of Dania Beach. “I didn’t think they’d actually come.”
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, her Pastry Is Art bakery will take center stage on the premiere episode of TLC’s “Buddy’s Bakery Rescue.” On each episode, Valastro helps hone the business or baking skills of struggling bakers.
Rissone, who opened her bakery four years ago, figured the Cake Boss could help attract new business. “I saw that my business needed exposure, and I couldn’t get my hands around it,” she says. “I’m a hands-on pastry chef. I don’t have time to sit in an office and do Facebook. We had the product. I just needed exposure.”
There’s certainly no better exposure than a visit from the Valastro, who turned his family’s New Jersey bakery into a tourist stop and a four-location chain. He also owns a Las Vegas restaurant and has written several cookbooks.
Rissone, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru, where she was born and raised, moved to Broward County 14 years ago. She’s since held top pastry jobs at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale and Eden Roc Miami Beach. “One piece to 1,000 pieces,” is how she describes her specialty. “I worked in hotels for 10 years. I managed everything from room service to restaurants to banquets.”
She now has close to 20 employees between the North Miami bakery and a 2-month-old kiosk at Aventura Mall, where the specialty is shot-size sweets in such varieties as cappuccino crème brulee and mango guava.
With as many 14 people working in the bakery, “it’s sometimes hard to deal with everyone’s personality,” she says. “I remember Buddy telling me that I didn’t need to yell to have people listen.”
So is Rissone known for yelling?
“I guess you have to see the show,” she says. “I’m very spontaneous. I try not to yell, but if something ends up burning in the oven, I’m going to yell. If it’s 30 pounds of cream cheese in cheesecakes, you just burned me a lot of money.”