Baking and Pastry Chef Duff Goldman ’98, Cake Charmer

Duff Goldman '98 Owner of Charm City Cakes, Host Sugar High
Duff Goldman ’98 Owner of Charm City Cakes

CIA Alumni Bio

Renowned for his innovative creations at his Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD, Chef Goldman is one of the most sought-after cake makers in the country. The first location opened in Baltimore (aka the Charm City), MD in 2002 and a second location in Baltimore’s Harbor East in 2017. Chef Goldman expanded in 2011 to the west coast opening Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles. The following year he opened Duff’s Cakemix Bakery & Studio, a do-it-yourself cake and cupcake decorating studio where the customer is the artist. Cakemix is located right next to Charm City Cakes. In 2018, locations opened in Pasadena and Tarzana, CA. “I want a Cakemix in every city,” Chef Goldman says. “Honestly, any direction I go, it’s going to be empowering people to bring out their inner artist.”

Food Network

For 10 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. He is the host of Sugar High, Kids Baking Championship, Halloween Baking Championship, Halloween Cake-Off, Holiday Baking Championship, Spring Baking Championship, Duff Till Dawn, Duff Takes the Cake, Cake Masters, Dessert Games, and Worst Bakers in America. His new program, Buddy vs Duff, debuted on March 10, 2019 and pits Chef Goldman against Cake Boss Buddy Valastro for the ultimate bragging rights of the undisputed king of cakes.

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. Chef Goldman started his professional foodservice career when he was 14, and has been working in kitchens and bakeshops ever since. He started working for acclaimed chef Cindy Wolf at Savannah restaurant while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Gaining Experience

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 Vail, CO and worked under Executive Chef Steve Mannino ’95 in Washington, DC. Chef Goldman came full circle in 2000 when he returned to Baltimore to open his own business, Charm City Cakes.

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. Before long, the recognition—as well as the cake orders—started pouring in.

Duff Goldman ’98 works with CIA Baking and Pastry Student
Duff Goldman ’98 works with CIA Baking and Pastry Student

Duff Bakes

Chef Goldman has been featured on Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef America, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Oprah, Jimmy Kimmel, The Chew, Rachael Ray, 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 3, 2015, Chef Goldman released his cookbook, Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home, which includes 135 recipes for a diverse range of goodies, including nutter butter cookies, apple streusel muffins, bacon jalapeno biscuits, and zucchini lemon cake.

A two-time James Beard Foundation nominated chef, Goldman is a sculptor, artist, and musician who plays bass in the rock band Soihadto. On Saturday, January 19, 2019, Chef Goldman married Johnna Colbry at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles, CA underneath the skeleton of a T. Rex.

Chef Duff Goldman majored in baking and pastry arts at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA. He is a TV host and personality, author, and owner of Charm City Cakes in Maryland and California.