Chef Duff Goldman's natural inclination to combine food and art and his culinary school education have made it possible for him to open Charm City Cakes. Goldmans business is one of the best- known 'cakeries' in the country because of the popularity of his Food Network show, Ace of Cakes.
Goldman's great-grandmother and grandmother were accomplished bakers and artists, and his mother is a well-known west coast stained glass designer. Goldman started cooking and baking as a young child and studied at the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington, D.C.
Discovering Culinary Possibilities
In his teens and early 20s, Goldman worked in pizza parlors and fast food restaurants, but dinner at the acclaimed Charleston Restaurant in Baltimore opened his eyes to more interesting culinary possibilities. When he asked owner Cindy Wolf for a job, she hired him to make cornbread one day a week. Her French chef hooked Goldman on making pastry, which inspired him to leave Baltimore and attend the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.
Culinary Epiphany at French Laundry
In Napa, Goldman's culinary school training and pastry prowess led to some great jobs. At Chef Thomas Keller's world-renowned French Laundry under Pastry Chef Steven Durfee, Goldman first discovered the excitement of combining food and art. "I saw people there taking food to different levels," he told the Baltimore Business Journal. Following his apprenticeship in northern California, he worked in several prestigious restaurants before returning to Baltimore in 2000 at the age of 25 to open Charm City Cakes.
From Baker to Entrepreneur
Originally working out of his apartment kitchen, Chef Goldman, now 33, works with eleven employees to operate a 6,000-square-foot enterprise that creates an average of 20 cakes per week--some with thousand-dollar-plus price tags. He has driven his cakes across the country for clients and has even been flown to Istanbul to create a special wedding cake. His entire staff (all friends) stars in his popular reality TV show, Ace of Cakes, on the Food Network.
"I think I've become an entrepreneur now," Goldman told a Food Network interviewer. "I went from baking, to making art, to being an entrepreneur."
Baltimore Business Journal
Charm City Cakes