Chef Duff Goldman on Business Rockstars
Today on Business Rockstars, Ken Rutkowski talks with the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes star, Chef Duff Goldman. Known for his unusual and daring cakes, he has opened Goldman’s Cakemix, a new cake decorating shop in Los Angeles.
Chef Duff Goldman started working for acclaimed Baltimore Chef Cindy Wolf while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After graduating with degrees in history and philosophy, Goldman left Baltimore to study pastry at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, CA. While in Napa, Goldman staged at the French Laundry, working under acclaimed Pastry Chef Steven Durfee. Following graduation, Goldman left Northern California to become executive pastry chef of the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in the mountains of Vail, CO. While in Colorado, he worked with such notable chefs as Jesse Llapitan, now executive chef of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and Jason Rogers, now at the Borgata of Atlantic City, NJ.
Goldman left Colorado to cook and bake bread for Todd English’s Olives in Washington, D.C., and worked under Executive Chef Steve Mannino. Goldman’s entrepreneurial spirit took him back to Baltimore in 2000, when he finally realized his dream and launched Charm City Cakes out of his apartment. He wasn’t there very long; as word-of-mouth spread, and the media and even the health department all began to take an interest, he soon found himself in a real bakery of his very own. Increased coverage in the press and a growing clients list helped propel Goldman into an even larger location: an old church he retrofitted into his current modern bakery in the Remington area of his adopted hometown, establishing Charm City Cakes as it is known today.
As word got out about his unusual and daring cakes, Goldman hired staff with more artistic experience than the typical pastry chef, including painters, architects, and sculptors. His out-of-the-ordinary team produces highly creative cakes, such as Star Wars characters, vehicles, a replica of the Stanley Cup, a working life-size motorcycle, and a Hogwarts Castle for Warner Brothers’ premiere of “Harry Potter.”
Following several appearances on its cake competition “Challenge” series, in 2006, Food Network tapped Goldman and his fellow cake artists at Charm City Cakes to star in “Ace of Cakes.” After six years and 10 seasons, the show is popular in more than 40 countries worldwide. In 2011, the show premiered in the United Kingdom, drawing record numbers for Food Network’s latest overseas venture, Food Network UK.
In addition to his work on “Ace of Cakes,” Goldman also stars in the Food Network series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”; has been featured in episodes of “Iron Chef America,” “The Next Food Network Star,” “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Drives,” “Chefs vs. City,” “Cupcake Wars,” and “Chopped”; and has just completed several guest-starring roles in both TV and film. Goldman’s cake work has also been featured on “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” Fox News, CNN, the “Today” show, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and more.
Chef Goldman made his first foray into the publishing world in 2009 with the New York Times bestseller, “Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes” (William Morrow Cookbooks).
Goldman then took on “Sugar High,” a show on the Food Network in 2011 that chronicled his cross-country trek to capture the sweet secrets and tasty techniques that keep the cookies from crumbling in the top bakeries around the nation. Goldman visited a bevy of sweet spots ranging from diners and curbside snow-cone machines to food carts and boutique bakeries, getting a full view of what it takes to sweeten up any soiree.
In July 2012, Goldman also partnered with the YouTube channel Hungry, on which viewers can tune into his adventures with food challenges, food pranks, cake tips, edible art, and more.
In 2012, Goldman’s Cakemix opened its doors in Los Angeles. The one-stop cake decorating shop allows visitors to decorate their own cakes.
In addition to owning and operating Charm City Cakes, Charm City Cakes West and Cakemix, Goldman is also a sculptor, artist and musician, playing bass for the indie instrumental band Sand Ox, and has an affinity for wearing his signature hockey jerseys.
In 2011, Goldman was nominated for two James Beard Foundation awards for both Best TV Food Personality/Host and Best Television Program.