Tom Papa takes a trip to Philadelphia, where traditional roots run deep at local bakeries. At Termini Brothers, he learns the secret of their creamy, crunchy cannoli, and at Sarcone's, fourth- and fifth-generation bakers show him how to make savory, Sicilian-style tomato pie in a giant brick oven. Tom stops by Reading Terminal Market for a juicy roast pork sandwich and ooey-gooey sticky buns. Finally, the folks at Federal Donuts take Tom to sweet and savory heaven with funky doughnuts paired with perfectly crispy fried chicken.
Tom Papa heads to New York City to get a slice of the Big Apple's diverse food scene. At The Doughnut Project, he meets up with comedian Jim Gaffigan to make the ultimate New York mashup: a glazed doughnut covered in everything bagel toppings. Then Tom visits Gian Piero Bakery for an Italian-American classic, rainbow cookies, which consist of colorful layers of cake and jam covered in chocolate. At Oda House, Tom falls in love with khachapuri, a boatload of bread brimming with bubbling cheese, eggs and tons of butter. Finally, Bien Cuit's Chef Zachary Golper gives Tom a master class in baking Old World bread and cheesy croissants.
Tom Papa bakes and eats his way through New Orleans, a city well-known for indulgence. He starts by making Doberge cake, a Big Easy cult-classic that's a tower of custard, cake, buttercream and chocolate. Then he heads to Gendusa Bakery to bake French bread for some of the city's best sandwiches, like the fried shrimp po' boy at Zimmer's Seafood. At Cochon Butcher, Tom tries a Cajun pork dog on a pretzel bun, and at SoBou, beignets get a sweet and savory makeover with sweet potato in the batter and coffee ganache glaze on top. Finally, Tom heads to Cafe Reconcile, where they help at-risk kids while serving up a warm, gooey slices of bananas Foster bread pudding.
Tom Papa visits the brash and brainy cities of Boston and Cambridge to find their best baked goods. Steps from Harvard, he learns how to make a lobster roll served on a jet black bun at Pagu, and he finds hamburgers and buns that are so decadent that only 18 can be made each night! At Maria's Pastry Shop, Tom helps bake massive, flaky, cream-filled pastries called lobster tails, and then he heads to Santarpio's Pizza to bake Italian bread and grill hot Italian sausage. Finally, Tom learns the secret to perfect pie crust from a Harvard-educated baker and helps her craft her take on everyone's favorite toaster pastry.
Tom Papa takes a trip to Detroit to visit chefs and bakers helping to revitalize Motor City and its food scene. At Kuzzo's Chicken and Waffles, a former NFL player serves up decadent, cake-like, red velvet waffles with spicy fried chicken. Sister Pie, a sweet corner bakery, whips up roasted banana chess pie topped with mountains of meringue and crumbled cinnamon cookies. Tom heads to Dearborn, Mich., to make amazing Middle Eastern food like fresh-baked pitas filled with roasted lamb and a fine-spun pastry topped with gooey, melted, sweet cheese. At Chene Modern Bakery, Tom learns how to make paczki, the Polish take on a rich, buttery, filled doughnut.
Tom Papa heads home to sunny Los Angeles to celebrate the city's baked gems. He stops by Vito's Pizza, where the crust is so special there's a bodyguard to protect the dough starter. At the legendary Canter's Deli, Tom makes a Monte Cristo sandwich stacked with ham, turkey and cheese griddled on fresh-baked challah French toast. At Creme Caramel LA, he samples the glitter-covered meringue known as unicorn poop and learns the secret behind their signature dessert, a psychedelic purple custard crowned in caramel. At East L.A.'s El Gallo Bakery, Tom helps bake Mexican sweet breads with chocolaty sugar crust, and he meets up with two of his baking heroes at Lodge Bread Company to make hearty, rustic bread and L.A.'s trendy treat, avocado toast.
Tom Papa heads to Cleveland, the "Pierogi Pocket" of America, to bake up some serious comfort food, like Old World-style rye bread for the city's favorite mile-high corned beef sandwich and, of course, cheesy potato pierogis. In Little Italy, he makes a cloud-like cassata cake with mountains of whipped cream and strawberries. Chef Jonathon Sawyer shows Tom how to make the pot pie of his dreams with half a bone-in chicken in buttery blitz dough, and then he caps off his trip with a classic Hungarian dessert of sour cream dough, raspberries, walnuts and chocolate.
Tom Papa heads home to New Jersey to bake flatbread in a 400-square-foot, coal-fired oven at Frank Sinatra's favorite bakery. Crumb cake gets a massive makeover when its piled high with the s'mores trifecta: chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker. Tom goes international with new New Jersey classics like paper-thin Turkish dough layered with butter and cheese and Portuguese puff pastries filled with cinnamon-spiked custard. And his childhood memories come flooding back with a bite of Italian rum cake soaked with the spirit and layered with whipped cream.