By Tess Bredesen with Portia Scott
What do twins, eating healthy, pasta and pantyhose and breast cancer have in common? Judy & Joy!
Paoleti sisters Judy and Joy, the Twice Baked Twins™ are on a wild ride complete with a mission geared toward healthy lifestyle and making the lives of busy women and “businessmoms” easier with tips, tricks and timesavers in and out of the kitchen.
Spreading the word for their fourth year online, in print, live appearances and on TV. Judy Vig and Joy Paoleti got their start locally in Connecticut where they were born and raised in a traditional loving Italian family. With seven wonderful children between them five girls, two boys, two husband’s. In 2009 after doing a show for Bobby Flays Dear Food Network, J & J have been working hard on their vision, building a brand that makes a difference.
Twice Baked Twins™ bring healthy lifestyle products, services and ideas to women and families nationwide.
Tess Bresden for Millennium Magazine met with the twins to learn more about this dynamic duo. Vivacious, fiery, fiercely entertaining, witty, and wild—all qualities of not just one but both of the twins. Their larger than life personas fill the air as they walk into Tarry Lodge, Mario Batali’s restaurant in Westport, CT, as if they themselves own the place. With big hair and even bigger personalities, Judy and Joy have an innate ability to light up a room (especially a kitchen) with spark and energy the minute they walk in. Add to these wonder twins an intense knack for cooking and baking, you’ve got a Food Network’s dream made reality.
It is no mystery that these women, individually, are exceptionally talented. But it is in the undoubtedly unique and intense bond between these sisters and an appetite for life that transcends all traditional occurrences of the kitchen that distinguishes their talent from the rest. Their life seems fit for the next big reality TV sensation, a hybrid of cupcake wars and The Real Housewives. But don’t be fooled for a second–these women are anything but domestic.
Sisters tell me about your background?
Judy: We are very Italian, with big families on either side. Everything is always and has always been centered around the kitchen. But growing up we spent a lot more time cheerleading than cooking.
Joy: Our mother always emphasized marriage — that marrying a man is the ultimate goal. But her mentality stemmed from a different generation, and we both never felt satisfied with just that as the objective. As our children got older, we began sitting in the kitchen getting a bit…“itchy”.
MM: How close were you girls while growing up?
Joy: Inseparable. And we still are. I wake up and what’s the first thing I do? I call her.
MM: What sparked the interest in cooking for you two?
Joy: It’s our life, our passion, our being. Everything we do is centered around a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. It’s how we bring our family together. Every time we sit down for a dinner its 25 people at least.
MM: Who had the idea to go into business as a package deal?
Joy: Judy did. We had a catering business at the time called “Just Desserts”. We slaved all day over these beautiful bite size pastries, all the while just dying to go out to the party and socialize! And after we finally did, the guests were always more interested in our story than our biscotti. Finally Judy called me one morning and was just like, “I think we’ve been marketing the wrong thing.”
MM: Tell me what inspires you for what you two do?
Both: (Simultaneously say) Our Mother.
MM: What’s the best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
Judy: You can do it. We never planned on this career growing up, nor did we even think we could once the idea sprouted. We didn’t think we’d get out of that kitchen with the title as wife or mother, but there IS a whole world out there. You just need to believe in yourself.
MM: Are you two telepathic by any chance?
Joy: Yes! I shot out of bed from a dead sleep at 5 am when Judy was having a baby, and I just knew.
Judy: Really? Which baby?
Joy: I don’t remember! (Giggles from both sisters). All the time we can communicate with each other with barely any words at all. We finish each other’s sentences. When I try to communicate with my husband in the same manner he gets upset, saying, “I’m not Judy!”
MM: Tell me your funniest kitchen moment?
Judy: We were cooking roasted marshmallows where we each had our own little burner. I was working away when I decided to reach for something over the burner. When I looked down, my entire sleeve had caught fire. I just kept going.
MM: When at home, what do you each like to eat?
Judy: Pappardelle pasta.
Joy: Chocolate! Every morning I wake up and think, how can I incorporate chocolate into my baking today?
MM: How do you two stay so trim around all this delicious food?
Joy: We get this question quite a bit, so finally we decided to develop our new program “Slim and Trim” with the Twice Baked Twins. We exercise regularly, we eat very clean, but we ALWAYS eat dessert.
MM: What’s your exercise routine?
Judy: Cardio and weight training. I can’t do Zumba. My hips don’t move like that anymore.
In September 2012, Judy was diagnosed with stage two Breast Cancer. No words can describe the shock and anxiety the sisters endured over this. After a long hard journey and a break from TV appearances, Judy is cancer free and the Twice Baked Twins are back and moving forward.
Joy: We were given our own segment on the CBS affiliate, WFSB for Better CT. We had been working with them for a few years anyway. This fueled Judy’s excitement and to get stronger faster! She did say to me all the time, through the tough days of dreaded chemo, ‘How are moms working through this? I can’t do it. I’m sick and exhausted.’ Which has led us, by chance to The Pink Fund where we will join forces with them on all levels.
The mission of The Pink Fund is to provide short-term financial aid to breast cancer patients in active treatment. Molly MacDonald is the Founder/President, SurThrivor™.
Joy: We have also created a fabulous breast cancer bracelet, with two pink rose quartz stones, for its healing properties. The stones representing each of us, and also the caretaker/patient as we both were!
Judy: We also want women to know how we, ‘laughed our way through cancer’ every day and that there is life after breast cancer…we are living proof!
On the heels of Judy being a breast cancer survivor and having diabetes in the family, eating healthy means a lot to Judy and Joy both personally and professionally. After participating in a charity fashion event in 2010 and 2011 and donating TBT sugar free desserts benefiting diabetes research, Judy and Joy began meeting and working with the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF). Cooking and eating in healthier ways became a new way of life.
The TBT, with the assistance of the DRIF research team in Miami, created what has been said to be the first truly delicious sugar free dessert where the taste of a healthy sugar substitute is completely undetectable. The TBT regular and sugar free line of products will be available nationwide with part of the proceeds going to Charity!
Judy and Joy, The Twice baked Twins™ can be found in many syndicated papers, magazines, celebrity food and mom blogs nationwide as food and lifestyle writers and contributors. They are on regional television weekly WFSB/ CBS, WPIX 11, Channel 12 in the North East and on national television monthly on Better National and their Food Network special airs a few times throughout the year. They can also be found at www.TwiceBakedTwins.com.