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Retired Worcester Police Officer Turned Reality TV Star

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

 

Carmelo Oquendo Talks About Life After TLC’s Next Great Baker. “It beats getting shot at big time!”

Retired Worcester police officer, Carmelo Oquendo says life has been an exciting whirlwind since placing 5th runner up on The Learning Channel’s “Next Great Baker”. When Oquendo, or “Carmello” as his friends call him, retired from the WPD in June, he never would have thought he’d be spending his days filming a reality show testing his cake baking skills. But thanks to some serendipity, that’s exactly what happened. “It’s been crazy”, says Oquendo.

One might agree, considering the self-proclaimed “Cake Father” learned how to create cakes 17 months ago. That’s where the serendipity comes in. Oquendo’s cousin in North Carolina was having heart surgery, so he flew to her home to offer his support. She is a cake baker, and one afternoon the two were looking at photos of some of her most decorative cakes. Oquendo is an artist, using oil on canvas, and refurbishes rooms in homes and wondered if he could translate his creativity to the art of baking.

Oquendo notes, “The first time I laid fondant onto a cake, my cousin took a picture and said ‘You’re going to be famous someday; it takes people years to learn how to handle fondant like that’”.
The next think Oquendo knew, his wife was downloading photos of his cakes on to a website which got him noticed by producers of the show. They emailed him a registration form to become a contestant, and out of 10,000 hopefuls, he rose to the top.

“I would do it again because it’s great publicity and you get to rub shoulders with people who have been in the cake making industry for years”, says Oquendo.
Oquendo placed 5th runner-up, and producers liked him so much that he appeared in every episode.

As for his brothers on the force supporting his endeavor? “They really supported me! I’ve never seen so many guys watching a girly show in my life”, he laughs.

Oquendo is under contract with TLC for one year, so he will be spending time making appearances and waiting to hear if the network needs him for another show. Until then, he’ll be in Worcester, baking cakes for locals! You can find his creations and contact him at www.TheCakeFather.net.
 

 

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