He found his calling at the New England Culinary Institute. “It actually fell into my lap. A teacher at my culinary school was like, ‘Hey, you’d be perfect for this. You love making cakes like this. You love being outgoing and having fun with life when you’re baking.’ So I was like, you know, I’ll give it a shot,” he said.
The 21-year-old is the youngest of the baker’s dozen featured on TLC’s Next Great Baker.
The show follows 13 pastry chefs from around the nation, picked by Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, as they vie for the title, $100,000, a feature in Redbook Magazine, and a chance to work with Buddy at Carlo’s Bakery.
Gray says his age didn’t cause much static for him among the other contestants.
Although he has been baking and cake decorating since he was little, and counts the show as a learning experience. “We made all sorts of cakes that were grand, 4 ft. tall. Three layer cakes were about as big as I’ve gotten, so this is definitely a change for me. It sounds so sappy when you’re like, ‘I learned so much but honestly, I did. I learned so much about myself going there, I went there not really knowing what I was doing, so unconfident in myself, some of these people have been baking longer than I’ve been alive,” Gray stated.
While the Next Great Baker credits Gray with having his own cake business, he isn’t fully supported by it yet. “Honestly right now I’m looking for a job. I love baking, cake decorating, is really my thing. I love the frosting and fondant work of cakes and really find that interesting. I just finished writing my cookbook, ‘Pete’s Treats’, and I’ll be selling it at a couple different craft fairs around.
We couldn’t get any spoilers out of Gray, but he stayed tightlipped. You’ll just have to wait until the season begins to see how far the East Longmeadow native gets.
Season 3 of TLC’s Next Great Baker starts on November 26th.
To keep up with Pete, check out his website here.