EAT PLAY LOVE: Chef Duff…and the Stuff You May Not Know About Him
He’s known for his attention to detail, infectious, signature laugh and of course, his untraditional approach to cakes. Duff Goldman (or Chef Duff as many people call him) has certainly made a name for himself, and it’s not hard to see why. Duff points to his “fearless attitude, unsinkable positive mentality and passion for pushing the envelope” that has catapulted him to culinary greatness, as the star of several Food Network shows, including Ace of Cakes and Sugar High.
After six years and ten seasons, Ace of Cakes is popular in over 40 countries worldwide, and in 2011 the show saw its United Kingdom premiere draw record numbers for Food Network’s latest overseas venture: Food Network UK. For a kid that grew up in Sandwich, Mass., he’s certainly come a long way, but perhaps the city’s name alone was foreshadowing of Chef Duff’s destiny as the king of all things epicurean.
Duff started working for acclaimed Baltimore Chef Cindy Wolf while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After graduating with degrees in history and philosophy, Duff left Baltimore to study pastries at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. While there, Duff was a stagiaire at the French Laundry, working under acclaimed pastry Chef Steven Durfee. He worked at several other restaurants in Colorado before deciding to cook and bake bread for Todd English’s Olives back in Washington, D.C.
Duff’s career came full circle when his entrepreneurial spirit took him back to Baltimore, where he finally realized his dream and opened Charm City Cakes (in his apartment no less). It wasn’t long before his client list grew to epic proportions and the need to grow his business became evident. He gathered a crew of painters, sculptors and architects to bring a strong artistic eye to his shop’s distinct cake-making experience.
His shop has one philosophy they live by: “If you can imagine it, we can create it”, and so far it’s true.
His out-of-the-ordinary team is known for producing highly creative cakes that range from Star Wars characters and vehicles, to a replica of the Stanley Cup, to a working life-size motorcycle, and a Hogwarts Castle for Warner Bros. premiere of Harry Potter.
Today, Duff’s work has also been featured on Oprah, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and more. He’s also made his first foray into the publishing world with the New York Times Bestseller, “Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes” from HarperCollins/William Morrow.
In addition to owning and operating Charm City Cakes, Duff is also a sculptor, artist and musician – he plays bass in the indie instrumental band, Sand Ox – and has an affinity for wearing his signature hockey jerseys. In 2011, Duff was nominated for two James Beard Foundation awards for both Best TV Food Personality/Host and Best Television Program.
Chef Duff is proof that passion and a good sense of humor truly end up taking the cake.
Want to meet Chef Duff in person? He’ll be at EAT PLAY LOVE on Feb. 9th at the Encanterra Country Club. To find out more about EAT PLAY LOVE, visit thegoodlifefest.com.