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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Houston pastry chef to star on TLC's 'Bakery Boss'

Drew’s Pastry Place in Northwest Houston goes head-to-head with “Cake Boss” reality TV star Buddy Valastro on TLC show Bakery Boss

Drew Rogers, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and Carla Rogers
Drew Rogers, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and Carla Rogers
A Houston pastry chef is about to see what he's worth as he goes up against Cake Boss and reality TV star Buddy Valastro on TLC's Bakery Boss (Mondays, 9pm CST).

At age 40, Andrew “Drew” Rogers stopped his direct mail marketing business and enrolled at the Culinary Institute LeNotre in Houston to start a new career.

“Culinary school was rigorous – 46 weeks, four nights a week from 5 to 11 p.m.," Rogers said in a statement. "But it was my passion."

After working as an assistant pastry chef for Master Chef Fritz Gitschner at the Houston Country Club for a few years, Rogers opened Drew’s Pastry Place, in the Champions/Cy Fair area. One of Rogers' biggest investors was his own mother. Joan Rogers retired from Compaq Computer/HP after 18 years and invested her entire 401-K retirement into her son’s second career.

“I’ve put my heart and soul into this place, not to mention mine and my family’s savings," Rogers added. "It’s got to succeed."

Now Rogers is getting schooled by Valastro whose TV show helps fledgling family-owned bakeries like Drew’s step up their business.

“Buddy threw me some hard balls 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."

Here's some insider info on the show...Valastro gave Rogers high marks for his culinary prowess – 9 out of 10 for his cannoli, rainbow cookies and tiramisu. But the Cake Boss zeroed in on where Rogers has had blinders on. For one, 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.”

For those Houston media insiders, Carla is a Regional Account Manager at CBS Radio Houston.

The Rogers' Houston episode of the Bakery Boss airs Monday (1/20/2014) at 9pm on TLC.

If you want to check the shop out for yourself, Drew’s Pastry Place (10300 Louetta Road) offers bagels from New York, specially blended coffee recipes, wide assortments of brightly colored pastries, desserts (including his signature Italian cream cake, Cannoli, cheesecake, Italian cookies, créme brulee) and more. For more visit

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