This Astoria baker will compete on new Guy Fieri show that aims to find a host for culinary travel series

Contestant Vincenzo “Vinny” Vaccaro, as seen on Guy’s Big Project, Season 1.
Photos courtesy of Food Network

Vinny Vaccaro, the owner of Vaccaro’s Bakery in Astoria, will appear on your television screen this Sunday as part of a new Food Network show called “Guy’s Big Project.”

The six-episode show, which will air at 9 p.m., will follow Guy Fieri as he walks 10 contestants through the process of hosting a culinary travel series. Each contestant will pick a restaurant that best represents their show idea and film a pilot using the skills they learned throughout the show. Contestants will also cook a meal that embodies their show idea in Fieri’s kitchen.

Vaccaro said he has always been interested in baking and was “born and raised in a bakery” since his father opened Vaccaro’s Bakery in Astoria more than 30 years ago.

“My dad always told me, ‘You are born a baker; you can’t become a baker,'” he said. “At 14 I was running a bakery with five bread bakers, and bread is where all my baking passion started.”

The younger Vaccaro is in charge of making the custom cakes and bakery items in the store. He said he uses a lot of traditional family recipes but adds a modern twist. His favorite desserts to whip up are his “infamous” donolies (a hybrid doughnut and cannoli) and bacon brownies.

Vaccaro also added that being an Astoria business owner allows him to connect with people from “all walks of life.”

“I love being an Astoria business owner because of all the diversity this city brings to my store,” he said. “I get to talk to people from all walks of life, and hear all their incredible stories. I was also born and raised in Astoria, which allows me to stay connected to all my old customers and friends. It will always feel like home.”

The Astoria native said he is a big fan of Fieri, and when he heard about a new show Fieri was casting, he decided to send out a tape even though he thought his chances of being chosen were slim.

But on Nov. 5, Vaccaro will make his television debut next to one of his idols. Vaccoro was chosen among thousands of submissions.

“Working with Guy was a dream come true to me,” he said. “He was super awesome to work with – very humble, inspirational and insightful. I got to see how he was able to balance his career and family life.”

(Back) Host Guy Fieri, contestant Mark Anderson, Christian Gill, Ryan Fey, Sharon Damante, Sherri Williams, Vincenzo "Vinny" Vaccaro, (Front) Rashad Jones, Zane Caplansky, Dariany Santana and Lindsey Greene, as seen on Guy's Big Project, Season 1.

Viewers will go on a journey with each contestant as they learn about what it takes to run a show. From describing each bite to engaging the audience and interviewing a variety of chefs, the contestants will pick up skills that will help them create a pilot during the last episode.

Immediately after the finale, which airs on Dec. 10, viewers will see whose show was chosen for a show.

“Over a decade ago I was given a chance that I could never have dreamed of on ‘Food Network Star,’ and now I’m honored to have the opportunity to help make someone else’s dream a reality,” Fieri said. “As a producer, I know what it takes to get a show off the ground, and we will see if these prospects have the passion and skills needed, because a great idea is just the first step.”

Though Vaccaro couldn’t reveal many details about his experience on “Guy’s Big Project,” he said he really enjoyed the experience.

“The most fun I had was that I got to do my favorite things – bake, eat and entertain, next to Guy,” he said. “I love the pressure of being in front of the camera and entertaining people.”

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