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Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman[1] (born December 17, 1974) is a pastry chef and television personality. He is the executive chef of the Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes shop which was featured in the Food Network reality television show Ace of Cakes, and his second Los Angeles-based shop Charm City Cakes West, which is featured in Food Network's Duff Till Dawn and "Cake Masters" series.[2] His work has also been featured on the Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef America, Oprah, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Man v. Food, Buddy vs. Duff, and Duff Takes the Cake.

Duff Goldman
Duff goldman.jpg
Jeffrey Adam Goldman

(1974-12-17) December 17, 1974 (age 44)
Johnna Colbry (m. 2019)
Culinary career

Early lifeEdit

Goldman was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a Jewish family. He moved shortly thereafter to Missouri. Goldman's nickname Duff came about when he was a baby.[3] His toddler brother, Willie Goldman, was unable to pronounce Jeffrey and kept saying Duffy.[1] When he was four, his mother caught him in her kitchen wielding a meat cleaver and watching food personality Chef Tell.[4]

After the divorce of his parents when he was ten, Goldman spent time living in both Northern Virginia and in the town of Sandwich on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.[5] In 1992, Goldman attended McLean High School in McLean, Virginia where he played on the Highlanders ice hockey team. In 1993, he graduated from Sandwich High School[1][6][7] in Sandwich.

From the age of fourteen, he began to work in kitchens; his first job was at a bagel store at a mall.[8] Goldman has said that when he was a sophomore in college, he went to what he considered the finest restaurant in Baltimore, Charleston, and was inspired to apply as a cook there. The head chef, Cindy Wolf, looked at his résumé and noted that it consisted of irrelevant experience. However, Cindy did offer him a job to make cornbread and biscuits only, and this is what Goldman cites as the turning point in his career.[9]

Shortly after college at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he attended schools such as Corcoran College of Art and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California. After working under acclaimed chefs in California, including a stagiaire position at the French Laundry[10] and as executive pastry chef of the Vail Cascade Hotel in Colorado,[11] he returned to Washington, D.C., to work at Todd English's Olives restaurant[12] baking bread.[13]

Charm City CakesEdit

Charm City Cakes

In 2000, Goldman opened his own business called Charm City Cakes. Initially, his cake sales began as he worked out of his house in Charles Village in Baltimore, Maryland with the help of two assistants he employed.[2] As the requests for his unusual cakes increased, he hired more employees – many of whom did not have any culinary experience as pastry chefs, but were instead experienced painters, architects, and sculptors.[14] Charm City Cakes frequently uses blow torches, as well as power tools such as grinders and drills to help create the underlying supports of cakes.[15] With his crew, Goldman has created unusual cakes including the likenesses of Elvis in the form of a 3-foot butter cream sculpture, an anatomically correct ear, a smoking volcano, a three-dimensional German Shepherd, as well as a replica of a CAT scan machine, a Jeep, and an edible Wrigley Field.

Goldman has made cakes for a number of celebrities including a cake for President Obama’s second inaugural ball in 2013,[16] Tom Clancy, the cast of Lost, the 30 Rock cast (along with a cake prop), Sir Roger Moore,[17] and for Katy Perry's "Birthday" video.[18]

In October 2009, Goldman and his brother Willie released the book Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes from HarperCollins/William Morrow, providing an exhaustive look at both the bakery and the show.

TV seriesEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Goldman currently lives in Los Angeles, California. He played bass guitar in a p'ansori band called Messgram. He is now the bass player in a band called Foigrock (a play on foie gras and rock and roll). He states his alternate dream job would be to perform as bass player with the band Clutch. Goldman has made a wedding cake for Clutch's lead singer, Neil Fallon.[22][23] In addition, Fallon's younger sister and Goldman's friend from college, Mary Alice Fallon-Yeskey, works at Charm City Cakes as the office manager.[24]

Goldman also officially entered the Guinness Book of World Records for baking the world's largest cupcake on March 30, 2008. The massive entirely edible cupcake weighed in at 61.4 pounds (27.9 kg) and was over a foot (305mm) tall. It was reportedly 150 times the size of a regular cupcake and required 16 pounds (7.2 kg) of butter, 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of sugar, and three ounces (85g) of food coloring. The record-breaking pastry was created to support the Great American Bake Sale, which raised $10,000 and awareness for the Share Our Strength charity. However, as reported in a 2009 episode of Ace of Cakes, Goldman was stripped of the record due to the cupcake having been made in two parts.

Duff lost a cooking competition on Iron Chef America season 8, episode 7 against Michael Symon. Goldman also competed on Food Network Challenge and won the competition.

Goldman is Jewish.[25] He is actively involved in Tzedakah, the Jewish practice of performing charity and philanthropic acts to enhance one's spirituality.[26] In an interview with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Goldman said “Tzedakah is very important to me. I’ve been so fortunate with everything that has happened to me, it would be a crime not to give back.”[27]

In 2012 Duff lost toes in a motorcycle accident. Although he vowed to quit, he has continued riding motorcycles.[28]

On April 2, 2018, Duff proposed to Johnna Colbry.[29] On January 21, 2019, the two were married. On September 25, 2019, Duff spoke at Cornell University, discussing the importance of Jewish identity and tzedakah in his life.[30]


  1. ^ a b c "10 Things You Didn't Know About... Duff " Archived 2010-08-19 at the Wayback Machine,The Food Network Retrieved on 2010-8-3.
  2. ^ a b Julekha Dash. "Audacity brings chef sweet success." Baltimore Business Journal. Accessed January 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
  3. ^ "‘Raising Duff Goldman, A Mother’s Perspective by Jacqueline Winch" Archived August 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on 2010-8-3.
  4. ^ Staff Writer. Following an undergraduate education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)—where he graduated with a degree in East Asian History with a minor in ethics—he attended the Culinary Institute of America (Greystone) in Napa Valley, California, "About Duff the Baker Archived January 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine." Charm City Cakes – Official Website. Accessed January 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
  5. ^ Food Network, Best Thing I Ever Ate, "Hometown Favorites", Episode 2010-01-08
  6. ^ Goldfarb, Bruce. "The Sweet Life of Duff Goldman", Welcome To Baltimore Hon, 14 September 2009. Retrieved on 2010-8-3.
  7. ^ ", The Cape Relay, Retrieved on 2010-8-3.
  8. ^ Food Network's Chefology teaser, August 9, 2009
  9. ^ Julie Scelfo "Bake It Like a Man Archived January 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine." MSNBC Newsweek Entertainment. Accessed January 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
  10. ^ "Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert 2011 Participating Chefs". Palm Springs Life. Desert Publications, Inc. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Chef Duff Goldman on Business Rockstars". Radio KFWB 980. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  12. ^ Valdespino, Anne. "For celebrity pastry chef Duff Goldman, life is a piece of cake". Los Angeles Register. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  13. ^ Gluck, Robert. "'Food Network' personality embraces tzedakah, grows his brand". | News Service. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Duff Goldman".
  15. ^ McCauley, Mary Carole (January 31, 2010). "Charm City Baker Set To Show Off His Range". The Baltimore Sun.
  16. ^ McKeever, Amy (January 22, 2013). "Behold Duff Goldman's Star-Spangled Inaugural Cake". Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  17. ^ "Ace of Cakes" Season 3, Episode 5, "The Spy Who Caked Me" February 21, 2008, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2009-08-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Scharper, Julie (April 16, 2014). "Duff Goldman bakes the cakes for Katy Perry's 'Birthday' video". Baltimore Sun Media Group. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  19. ^ Raneri, Joel (January 2019). "Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman Battle to be Crowned the Undisputed King of Cake". Food Network. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  20. ^ Official FOOD NETWORK Page for show
  21. ^ Hendricks, Jaclyn (February 28, 2019). "Tiffany Haddish and Pete Wentz heading to 'Double Dare'". Page Six. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  22. ^ Staff Writer. He has made television appearances on The Tonight Show, four Food Network Challenges, Christopher Lowell's show and others. "Duff Goldman." Food Network. Accessed January 7, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-01-07.
  23. ^ Staff Writer. "The Cake Guy Archived June 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine." Baltimore City Paper. Accessed January 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
  24. ^ Alan H. Feiler, "Flour Power", Baltimore Jewish Times, Mar. 2, 2007
  25. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi. "‘Ace’ holds all the cards when it comes to cakes", Jewish Journal 14 September 2006. Retrieved on 2010-8-3.
  26. ^ Miller, Gerri. "The AJL Mini Hot List: Duff Goldman (Hot Baker)", American Jewish Life Magazine Archived 2006-12-08 at the Wayback Machine 4 September 2007. Retrieved on 2010-8-3.
  27. ^ Perlman, Aviva. "Duff Goldman: On the Sweet Fringe",Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life 20 September 2007. Retrieved on 2010-8-3
  28. ^ "Ace of Cakes' Duff Goldman Lost Toes in Crash, Still Rides Motorcycle". Us Magazine.
  29. ^ CNN, Lisa Respers France. "'Ace of Cakes' star gets engaged with twine". CNN. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  30. ^ Kilpatrick, Aliyah (2019-09-26). "Duff Goldman, Renowned Celebrity Baker, Reflects on Career and Jewish Identity". The Cornell Daily Sun.