Duff Goldman Talks Cake and Travel Faves: The owner of Charm City Cakes and star of Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” and Cooking Channel’s “Donut Showdown”, “Duff till dawn” and “Kids Baking Championship” chats with CSL about his travel favourites
Q. Why is being a chef fulfilling?
A. At the end of the day, I make stuff. Actual stuff that people can eat. What does a stock broker make at the end of the day? Money? Yay. I made something that you can touch and taste and feel and eat. I made something that gives people not just nutrition, but enjoyment. I took a bunch of ingredients and made a whole new thing that didn’t exist before I got my hands on it. Also, chefs give people pleasure. Our job is to make people smile. That is an awesome job and I love it.
Tell us about your involvement with Tzedakah charitable endeavors and why it is important to give back.
By definition, I’m not really supposed to talk about Tzedakah. It’s important to give back as much as possible but as anonymous as possible. The only time I am not anonymous about the amount of charity work I do is when I am trying to inspire other people to give whatever they can as well. The reason I am so involved is that I feel that I have been so fortunate for so long that it’s my job to give back as much as I can!
What three items are always in your luggage?
1 Motorcycle Helmet (I try to ride in every country I go to).
2 Paper Map/Lonely Planet guidebook (I like going places where my phone doesn’t work).
3 My Kindle (sometimes there are long periods of waiting when traveling, it’s good to have a book).
What brand of luggage do you always travel with?
My luggage is real honest to goodness US Army Surplus. We make the best luggage in the world and it is indestructible. Perfect!
3 of the most played songs on my ipod are…
“Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin; “I have the body of John Wilkes Boothe” by Clutch; “Labor” by Aesop Rock
Favourite hotel in the world?
El Meson de Marques Escalante, Valladolid, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Beautiful hotel, cheap as dirt, a-maze-ing food. Seriously. Plus it is within walking distance of a
cenote that has underground cliff diving. Right?
Best advice (business or otherwise) that you have received.
“Keep your eyes open, your mouth shut, and your hands moving,” or “someone can hand you a piece of poop, it doesn’t mean you have to take it.”
Favourite city to travel to?
Tokyo. It has everything you can possible think of, times 10. The food, the music, the art, the people, it is just wild, also the Tokyo fish market is something that every chef should see at least once their life.
Most memorable travel moment.
Reading my Bar Mitzvah portion in the ruined synagogue of Massada in Israel.
I can’t live without….
Knowing that there is a reason for me doing so.
What is your favourite dish and at which restaurant (worldwide)?
Route 307, near Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico. There’s a barbacoa stand on the side of the road attached to a gas station. They cook the tortillas on the bottom of a 55 gallon steel drum and they roast all the meat in the jungle behind the gas station. I don’t know what any of the different items are called, as there is no menu, but it is all delicious. Roasted jungle meat on gas station steel drum tortillas with the hottest habañero sauce. Mmm…
Favourite things to do, see and eat in Baltimore.
Do: Go to Ravens games and cheer when we beat the Pittsburg Steelers
See: the Walters Art Gallery
Eat: fried oysters from John Shields restaurant inside the BMA “Gertrude’s.”
“Right now I’m writing and photographing a baking book called “Duffff bakes.” It’s going to be about 170 recipes, everything from bread to muffiffins to cookies to scones to pies to cakes. In writing this book I’m trying to de-mystify baking. I’m not trying to dumb it down, as many bakers write books that say “5 ingredient easy baking from my family!” or some stupid sh-t like that. I’m trying to explain baking, real baking that real pastry chefs do, in words and methods that can be understood by people who want to bake but are hesitant to try because baking has a stereotype of being some sort of alchemy that only an initiated few may attempt. Nuts! I can do it, and if I can do it, so can you. I’m also photographing the book as well, because writing and recipe testing isn’t diffifficult
enough. Why not try to teach myself food photography while I’m at it, right?”
This article on Chef Duff Goldman first appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of City Style and Living Magazine. Do you Want even more Food?