I contacted Carlo Fuda, a contestant from The American Baking Competition on CBS, and asked him if he’d do an interview with me for the blog! He said yes!!!
Why do you think CBS chose you to be on The American Baking Competition?
Although born in the United States, practically everything I make is strongly influenced by my personal and direct connection to Italy – I have been there about 30 times, visiting most of the boot, top to bottom, lived there several times, went to school in Florence, worked in Milan, performed with a rock band in Turin, and raised by my awesome parents who are from Italy. I think CBS selected me for the competition because I brought a unique perspective on baking – one strongly influenced by Italy, but made by a proud American.
You like to bake… what’s your favorite part of baking?
My favorite part of baking is definitely the sharing and the eating. I love making food for others – it’s so personal and shows people you care – you want to feed them. I also love the eating. Actually, now that I think about it, eating is my favorite part.
If you could do it all over again… would you still have made Ricotta Easter Pie as your signature pie?
Absolutely. Without. A. Doubt. I bleed red, white, and green, and my Ricotta Easter Pie, which included a spice combination and flavor palate that is common in Italy, truly represents my passion for Italy and the many adventures I have had there. If going bold means going home, I’m okay with that because it’s important to me to stay true to my essence.
Have you ever been to the Sistine Chapel?
My first trip to the Sistine Chapel was in 1999, and that is one of my most favorite and most memorable trips to Italy (it was with my brother, who is my best friend). I stood in absolute awe when I visited – I could have stayed looking at every detail for hours. I have a unique souvenir from that experience – I later got a tattoo of “The Hands of Creation” to always remind me of that trip.
How hard was the technical bake?
The technical bakes were challenging because you have no idea what to expect. It could be something you make all the time or something you have never even eaten.
What is your most favorite Italian baked item ever?
My most favorite Italian baked item ever is the Rum Baba. It is a small mushroom shaped cake drenched in rum and often filled with cream. It packs a punch and is so delicious!
If you had to choose pizzelles, pasticiottis, or cannolis (any flavors) – and you could eat one and not the others for the rest of your life, what would you choose? (I tried to answer this question myself and I just CAN’T choose!! So I want to know your thoughts…)
This is a tough one! I adore pasticiottis (especially lemon), but admittedly have a soft spot for cannolis – They are one of my ‘go-to’s’ when I visit Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. I love the crunchy shell and many variations of the cream filling (from chocolate to candied fruit). I have made them so many times with my Zia Concetta who lives in Italy, and her ricotta cream is my favorite that I have ever had. It’s not that I don’t like pizzelles, but I require gelato sandwiched in-between two when I eat them.
Who are you closest to on the show, The American Baking Competition?
The most amazing part of this journey has been the friendships. I got along with everyone – and all of my baking friends were a pleasure to meet. As you know, Whitney is my girl. I’m very close with Effie and Francine – I talk to them almost daily, and not only are they dear friends, they are my baking mentors. They are amazingly talented!
Was Jeff Foxworthy hilarious?
Not only is Jeff hilarious, but he is one of the most sincere and sweetest people I have ever met. I loved talking to him about his trips to Italy, which of course would lead to conversations about food, la dolce vita, and limoncello!
Is Marcela Valladolid as beautiful in person as she is on tv?
More so. I admire Marcela so much – she is beautiful inside-out. I love her style, appreciate her expertise, and respect her admiration for her cultural heritage, which is something I can definitely relate to.
What is your most favorite memory from being on the show, The American Baking Competition?
My most favorite memory from being on the show was the finale party where all of the eliminated contestants surprised the three finalists along with their families. It was so much fun and so exciting! I remember laughing a lot that day, and we got to fill up on the finale showstoppers. YUM!