‘Ace of Taste’ shows the savory side of chef Duff Goldman – Journal Inquirer

Posted By on May 4, 2022

Hes the Ace of Cakes and Buddy Valastros worst nightmare on Buddy vs. Duff.

But Food Networks new daytime series, Duff: Ace of Taste, which premiered on April 24, reveals another side of celebrity chef Duff Goldman, whos best known for his baking. Now hes expanding his horizons to share savory recipes too, drawing on his culinary skills as a classically trained chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.

Before becoming a stellar pastry entrepreneur who built two businesses, Charm City Cakes bakery in Baltimore and Los Angeles, and the DIY treats store Duffs Cakemix with shops in Southern California, he worked in fine dining rooms such as French Laundry and Olives. For this show hes keeping it down to earth with recipes drawn from his real life as a dad, husband, and part-time rock musician who plays bass in a band with some of his chef buddies.

Episodes include shots from his home kitchen in Topanga Canyon and hell make dishes for his bands practice session, his young daughter Josephines first tea party, a school bake sale, and more. Get ready for sliders, chili, cornbread, mini quiches, and other goodies. We spoke to Goldman about why hes welcoming viewers into his home to film his new show.

Q. Everyone thinks of Chef Duff as the Ace of Cakes, but I remember you telling me about the meat cake you made for your wedding. Savory has always been a part of your skill set, right?

A. Yeah. I started out wanting to be a chef and the first fine dining restaurant I went to, the chef was like, Look, Im not gonna hire you to cook. You dont know how to cook yet. But Ill teach you how to bake cornbread and biscuits. And I was like, OK, whatever I can do to get my foot in the door, and I just loved it.

Q. That was Cindy Wolf, right?

A. Yeah. She has a bunch of restaurants now. Shes like the godmother of Baltimore cooking. She is amazing.

Q. And you worked at some other spectacular fine dining restaurants, like the French Laundry and Olives. What did you learn there that you might bring to this show?

A. You just learn how to do things right. I find that when people cook, they tend to try to save a little time here and there. Oh, that doesnt seem like thats that important to me, I think Ill skip that. But I think when you do things right, theyre not only gonna turn out better, its usually faster.

Q. So, will these recipes be geared to the average home cook?

A. 100 percent! Im not like a super fancy kind of guy. I make really good chili. I make really good burgers. Im not making steak au poivre or Beef Wellington, or stuff like that. You know what I mean? Im kind of a redneck.

Q. So the recipes are all approachable?

A. I want people to see that really good cooking isnt as difficult as they think. I do some real cooking and I think that when I break it down and demystify it, its really not that hard to make. I want people to feel inspired, like, Wow, I could totally do that.

Q. Can you tell us about some of the recipes?

A. These are all recipes that people can do at home. The Texas Chili is really good and I think theres seven ingredients, its easy. You dont need a lot of stuff to make really good chili. Theres a lot of baking too. Like Ill show you how to make big soft pretzels and thats something that a lot of people are really afraid to do. But I think once they watch me do it, theyll realize its only six steps. Its pretty easy.

Q. Whats your take on cornbread?

A. I like it very sweet. I love the crust it gets. So when you bake cornbread, preferably you have cast iron, but if you dont, youll be fine using a muffin tin. But what I like to do is I put the muffin tin in the oven and get it really, really hot, then I pull it out, put the cornbread batter in there and then stick it right back in the oven. It gets the edges nice and brown and crispy and the inside is like falling apart creamy.

Q. That sounds delicious. Do you have any heritage recipes that youll share? You grew up in a Jewish home, right?

A. I dont like to toot my own horn, but I never tasted a babka better than the one I make. That was my great-grandmothers recipe.

She came from Moldova, but for some reason she had a lot of Sephardic recipes that were more like Spanish and Middle Eastern.

Im not really sure how long our family was in Moldova; maybe we came from the Middle East. But I just love those flavors. And so Im making things like a baklava with dates, raisins and nuts.

Q. Most of us buy baklava and it loses something as it sits on a shelf. When you make it fresh, its amazing.

A. Its such a beautiful process. I love making baklava, its really satisfying.

Q. I think its great that youre showcasing personal recipes and I notice these types of programs are trending. The other day I was watching Be My Guest with Ina Garten and its personal too, just her cooking at home for friends. Ace of Taste is different from your other shows because in Buddy vs. Duff youre competing, in Kids Baking Championship youre judging. Is it freeing doing a show where you can cook what you like and just be yourself?

A. Its really nice. I think when people watch the show theyre gonna see that Wow, this guy really loves what he does. Whether there was a camera in front of me or not, Id still be having a great time. I just love to cook and to be able to share that with everybody.

Duff: Ace of Taste airs at noon each Sunday, on the Food Network.

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'Ace of Taste' shows the savory side of chef Duff Goldman - Journal Inquirer

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