Duff has been cooking since the age of four, when his Mom caught him in the kitchen swinging around a meat cleaver while watching Chef Tell on TV. When Duff was in second grade, he came this close to cutting of his pinkie off while carving a pumpkin. He started working professionally when he was 14 at a bagel shop in a mall. Ever since then, Duff's been putting his own crazy spin on food.
Duff's creativity with food is partly due to the fact that he comes from a family of great cooks and artists. His Ukrainian Great-Grandmother, "Mamo", was a baker as well as a renowned cook and fiber artist. Her daughter, Duff's grandmother, "Nana", was a silversmith, enamellist, painter and photographer who prided herself on her skills in the kitchen. Duff's Mom, Jackie, is also an artist who began in ceramics and is now an accomplished stained glass designer on the west coast. Duff studied at the Corcoran School in Washington, D.C. and was at one time a graffiti artist.
He started working for acclaimed Baltimore Chef Cindy Wolf while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After graduating, Duff left Baltimore to study at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. While in Napa, Duff was a stagiere at the French Laundry, working under acclaimed pastry Chef Steven Durfee. Duff left California to become Executive Pastry Chef of the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in the mountains of Vail, Colorado. There, he worked with such notable chefs as Jessie Llapitan, now Executive Chef of the Houstonian in Houston, Texas, and Chef Jason Rogers, late of Olives in Aspen and now at the Borgata of Atlantic City. Duff then left Colorado to bake bread for Todd English's Olives in Washington, D.C., where he worked under Executive Chef Steve Mannino. Duff left Olives in 2000 when he came back to Baltimore to open Charm City Cakes.
In addition to owning and operating Charm City Cakes, Duff is also a sculptor, artist, and musician- he plays bass in the indie instrumental band "so I had to?" and is an all around good guy with the cleanest hands in town. Duff and his Charm City Cakes staff star in the Food Network series, Ace of Cakes.
For more information about Charm City Cakes visit www.charmcitycakes.com