Cake decorator, bass player and really cool guy: Meet Chef Duff, Ace of Cakes

When I found out that Chef Duff Goldman, star of the Food Network hit show, Ace of Cakes, was coming to the Princeton Kitchen Kapers for a book signing of his new book Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes, I leapt at the opportunity to 1) set up another “TweetUp” for fans in the area and 2) reach out to Kitchen Kapers to set up a photo opp with the man himself.  Kitchen Kapers then connected me with Duff’s book publicist at Harper Collins and then a week later, I was standing in my kitchen talking to Duff on the phone discovering just how genuine, funny, down-to-earth and wacky he really is!  He’s also someone who has remained humbled even with the success of the show.  Duff still sees himself as just a cake decorator who loves the crazy uniqueness of Baltimore, likes to play in a band and gets to work with his best friends and family.

Here are some more highlights from my chat with Duff:

“An invitation to come and hang out with us for 230 pages.”

When Duff created his book, he wanted to “make sure there was a lot of care and effort into this book. It was a huge labor of love.”  He also wanted readers to see that he and his staff are all just a bunch of  “goofy art school kids who never ever thought about being on TV.”  While they try not to take the reality TV stardom seriously, they don’t mess around with their cakes.  You’ll see from the book that the masterpieces that are Charm City Cakes are the result of smart business savvy and silly and fun creativity.

“Whoa what happened!”
The television show was quite a surprise for Duff and his staff but they have been very successful at keeping it real for the fans of the show.  When I asked if he had to change any of the way he conducts business for the show he let out a strong laugh saying,  “The Food Network found out very quickly that any attempt to push us in one direction, we’d go the opposite.” So what you see on Ace of Cakes is really how they are in life and career.

“The truth is stranger than fiction”
My conversation with Duff was filled with hilarious, entertaining and “Duff-like” anecdotes like one that involved 20 terracotta warrior masks.  Duff made a cake for the opening of a terracotta warrior exhibit for National Geographic and the President gave him 20 of these warrior masks that he took back the staff.  For about an hour that day, they wore the masks while they worked.  “You can’t make this stuff up,” chuckled Duff. “Our show is obviously not produced.” And that’s why it’s such a breathe of fresh air.

“I’m not a teacher, not a firefighter, not a doctor.  I’m just a cake decorator.”
At the end of our brief yet fun chat, I asked Duff of all of the celebrities he made cakes for, who impressed him the most? His answer: Steve Carell of The Office.  His reasoning was very similar to how I felt at the moment about Duff.  He commented that when he made a cake for the Get Smart movie, he found Carell to be a genuine and down-to-earth guy who just saw himself as a “goofy guy who made a movie” and didn't understanding how fans could get so intense around him.  And Duff said the same about when fans get crazy about him and that there are plenty other people who are more important than he is because in his own words, “he’s just a cake decorator.”  

One thing is for sure, Duff may think he’s just a cake decorator, but he’s also an inspiration for anyone who would love to design cakes or start their own bakery and do it their own way.

Get inspired by Duff in person when he comes to Central and South Jersey on December 4th for his book-signing event with Kitchen Kapers.  At 2:30pm he’ll be at the Princeton/Palmer Square location and then at 6pm he’ll be in Moorestown at the East Gate Square. Click here for more details. 

I am also hosting a TweetUp at the event for anyone who wants to gather with other link minded people, enjoy an afternoon with Duff Goldman and then mix and mingle at happy hour afterwards.  RSVP at Twtvite or Facebook.

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