Bakery Boss Sparks Chef’s “Aha!” Cannoli Cupcakes
Drew’s Pastry Place Chef/Owner to Star on “Bakery Boss” National TV Show
Houston’s own Chef Andrew “Drew” Rogers, pastry chef and owner of Drew’s Pastry Place in Northwest Houston, goes head-to-head with “Cake Boss” reality TV star Buddy Valastro on the new TLC show, “Bakery Boss,” (Mondays, 9 p.m. C.S.T.) set to air January 20, 2014 (date subject to change). On the “Bakery Boss” series, Buddy’s mission is to help fledgling family-owned bakeries like Drew’s step up their business.
“Buddy threw me some hardballs from the start and really challenged me on how I run my business and interact with my family, who are not only investors, but co-workers,’” said Rogers, who turned his passion for making Italian pastries into a second career in 2005. “Buddy may have riled me at times, but in the end, I think that’s what brought me to come up with Cannoli Cupcakes, a brand new signature dessert idea,” he continued.
Cannoli Cupcakes combine Rogers’s love of creating traditional Italian pastry with the ever-popular American staple of cupcakes. “Buddy loved the idea and that comes through on the show,” he said.
Chef ‘Drew’ grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey in an Italian family where the love of food and desserts were a big part of everyday life. Growing up learning to cook and making traditional Italian desserts helped Drew develop his skill and artistry that has served him well in his culinary journey. Following his high school graduation, Drew relocated to Houston with his family in 1981.
In 2003, at age 40, Rogers closed his direct mail marketing business to enroll at LeNotre Culinary Institute in Houston to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a professional pastry chef. “Culinary school was rigorous – 46 weeks, four nights a week from 5 to 11 p.m. But it was my passion,” says Drew. He worked as an assistant pastry chef for Master Chef Fritz Gitschner at the Houston Country Club for four years before opening his own shop, Drew’s Pastry Place, in the Champions/Cy Fair area.
Rogers translated his classical French training into Italian to reflect his own family heritage. He brings his flair to such specialty sweets as cannoli (note the smooth texture of his ricotta cheese filling), Italian crème cake, sfogliatelli and tiramisu. As a pastry chef steeped in European tradition, he was far less interested, though, in baking such treats as cupcakes, even if that meant hurting his bottom line sales.
Valastro gave Rogers high marks for his culinary prowess – 9 out of 10 for his cannoli, rainbow cookies and tiramisu, for starters. He also zeroed in on where Drew has had blinders on, how he should be more strategic in his dessert and other food offerings and how to best merchandise his shop to attract the local clientele. “Buddy helped bring the conversation to a trigger point, spurring Drew’s “Aha!” moment with regard to creating a signature cupcake that’s a win-win,” said Carla, his wife of 23 years. “The ‘Bakery Boss’ pushed hard, but he finally got Drew see his business in a different light.”
“I’ve put my heart and soul into this place, not to mention mine and my family’s savings. It’s got to succeed,” said Drew. Investors include his mother, Joan Rogers, who retired from Compaq Computer and HP after 18 years and invested her entire 401-K retirement into her son’s business.
The TLC show promises to showcase other newly created confections available at Drew’s Pastry Place, thanks to the “Bakery Boss” intervention.
Drew’s Pastry Place, 10300 Louetta Road, offers bagels from New York, specially blended coffee recipes, wide assortments of brightly colored pastries, mouth watering desserts including his signature Italian cream cake, Cannoli, cheesecake, Italian cookies, créme brulee and more. For further information, visit http://drewspastryplace.com or call 832-717-3530.