Duff Goldman ’98, Charm City Cakes, TV Host
Duff Goldman ’98, renowned for his innovative creations at his Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD, is one of the most sought-after cake makers in the country. For ten seasons Chef Goldman brought his unique style of baking to a national television audience as the host of the hit Food Network show, Ace of Cakes. Goldman’s new show, Sugar High, takes him on a cross-country motorcycle trek to capture the sweet secrets and tasty techniques that keep the cookies from crumbling in the top bakeries around the nation. He has added product designer and marketer to his accomplishments, with the introduction of Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios cake baking and decorating products.
Chef Goldman has been cooking since the age of four, when his mom caught him in the kitchen watching Chef Tell and swinging around a meat cleaver. His great-grandmother was a baker in the Ukraine, so a passion for cakes is definitely in his blood.
He started his professional foodservice career when he was 14, and has been working in kitchens and bakeshops ever since. In high school, he made sandwiches at a pizza parlor in Cape Cod. He then started working for acclaimed chef Cindy Wolf at Savannah restaurant while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
After graduating, Chef Goldman left Baltimore to earn his Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate from The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California’s Napa Valley. While in Napa, he was a stagiere at The French Laundry, working under celebrated pastry chef Stephen Durfee. Chef Goldman left California to become executive pastry chef at the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in the mountains of Vail, CO, where he worked with such notable chefs as Jesse Llapitan, now executive chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, CA; and Jason Rogers, currently corporate chef at Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO. He then went to bake bread for Todd English ’82 at Olives in Washington, DC, working under Executive Chef Steve Mannino ’95. Chef Goldman came full circle in 2000 when he returned to Baltimore to open his own business.
Known for its out-of-the-ordinary creations inspired by just about anything, Charm City Cakes offers special-occasion cakes made to order, each taking anywhere from 10 to 200 hours to complete. Chef Goldman often uses drills, power saws, belt sanders, and blowtorches in making his cakes. Before long, the recognition—as well as the cake orders—started pouring in. Baltimore City Paper included him on its Best of Baltimore list in both 2002 and 2003, and he was named one of Baltimore’s Up and Comers in 2005. His celebrity customers have ranged from Hillary Clinton to Alice Cooper.
Chef Goldman has been featured on Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef America, Oprah, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2009, he and his brother Willie Goldman authored Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes. On November 4, 2014, Chef Goldman will release his latest cookbook, Duff Bakes, which includes 135 recipes for a diverse range of goodies, including nutter butter cookies, white chocolate blondies, apple streusel muffins, cereal bars, bacon jalapeno biscuits, banana bourbon cream pie, zucchini lemon cake, and savory bread pudding.
Chef Goldman has also appeared on the television series King of the Hill and Imagination Movers. In 2010, he played a clown in a movie called Below the Beltway and, in 2012, was a guest on MTV’s Ridiculousness. In addition, in early 2013 he appeared on the YouTube channel Smosh, as himself. Branching out to other mediums, Chef Goldman is a sculptor and artist, and a musician who plays bass in the rock band Soihadto.