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101 LUXURYLV.COM | DEC-JAN 2016-2017 The energy of Buddy V's flows seamlessly bet ween each area, from the bar and lounge to the main dining and open kitchen. Rustic materials add a layer of intimac y to the space, including home photos — pre-iPhone — of the Valastro family. Hanging panels are made of vintage rolling pins and light fix tures from repurposed water jugs and whisks. Elizabeth explained how Buddy and she worked hand-in-hand with Celano: "We both shared the vision of having a very personal component to the design from the beginning and working to incorporate Buddy's story. Buddy and his wife, Lisa, provided us great feedback and shared places and people who were important for them to be included. "They sent over tons of family photos, which make up the bulk of the art on our walls. The chandeliers are made with industrial whisks, Bundt cake pans decorate the walls. Rolling pins are used as screens. It was a great collaboration. They trusted us to nail the operations and general design, but also provided a lot of feedback." They didn't adjust one thing to give it a lit-up Las Vegas feel for their Las Vegas audience. "No, we didn't," said Elizabeth. "We felt that offering an authentic experience and genuine design had a global appeal that people would appreciate. "We started talking with Buddy a couple of years before the restaurant opened, and we looked at spaces all over before The Venetian approached us. When we began working on the project in earnest, Buddy had the entire team to his facility in New Jersey. "He brought in his wife, Lisa, his sisters, aunts and mother and extended family, and we just cooked a ton of recipes and shared a lot of stories. That influence is core to the restaurant and has been a spirit we have worked to keep alive. Sharing the opening with his family and seeing this space reflecting their traditions and our vision was so special." The 11,000-square-foot restaurant opened Oct. 7, 2013, and holds 70 at the bar and lounge and 220 in the restaurant and patio overlooking the Strip. Buddy's Carlo's Bakery opposite the hallway still has lines outside waiting all day long. There's as much care in the cooking as went into the art and design of the restaurant. "Making a cake is a lot more than mixing eggs, sugar, butter and flour," said Buddy. "You have to capture the pleasure, pride and creativity in the cake to connect the memory of my father to our customers today." Buddy's father and grandfather were bakers in Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands off Sicily. Buddy was 11 when he began working alongside his father in the family bakery. He was 17 when his father passed away, having instilled in him the family expertise for baking. To this day, Buddy still wears his father's St. Anthony's medallion. His T V career that sent him on the road to fame and for tune began when he won not only a Food Network cake competition but also his own T V shows. He films three shows: "Cake Boss," "Kitchen Boss" and "Next Great Baker" in addition to his "Baking With the Boss" tour events. Buddy's favorite creation is a life-size tribute of a magnum opus wine bottle to Lisa on her 30th bir thday. To this day, his Carlo's Baker y in Jersey City produces each week some 60 wedding cakes, 500 bir thday cakes and hundreds of cannolis for his restaurants. He created our 35th anniversar y Las Vegas Review- Journal Best of Las Vegas Awards cake. The secret of his success? "I had to create a point of difference to stand out against the competition. I wanted to be creative and thought if I can make cakes that don't look like normal cakes but taste the way my dad's cakes taste, then I might be on to something. I still have that passion and dedication from my father's handed-down teachings. It's a dream job, and my Las Vegas restaurant is a dream come true, too." q S A V O R | P R O F I L E