Nicole Kummer, program director for University Lecture Series, likes to cook. Yet, compared to Jeffrey “Duff” Goldman, she has much to learn.
“He is a great role model of finding success despite differences,” she said. “He isn’t the typical baker and certainly has unusual and innovative techniques, but in the end, that is what has given him his rise to fame.”
Goldman is best known for his show, “Ace of Cakes,” which explores the cake creation and decoration of the extravagant cakes Goldman and crew make at their Baltimore shop, Charm City Cakes. The show runs Thursday nights on Food Network and is currently ending in its final season.
Goldman, who comes from a line of female food and traditional artists, is said to have started his passion for cooking at the age of 4. In addition to making cakes shaped like everything imaginable, from a Pac-Man arcade machine to a human heart, he is also a musician and artist.
Though Goldman will not bring his famed cakes, audience members will have an opportunity to engage in a Q&A session with the baker tonight at 7 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.
“It was not fiscally responsible of us for him to drive (the cakes) here,” said Kristie Gerber, director of Student Activities.
Gerber, who said it cost $27,500 for his personal travel to USF, said she believes that USF students will find his presentation engaging, despite the general belief that college students are not capable of cooking.
“I think his relevance lies in what he does,” she said. “Reality TV shows are very popular. It hits service, creativity and some business.”
Kummer said students polled last semester by ULS to gauge speaker interest indicated that Food Network personalities were in high demand.
She said she believes Goldman, in particular, can connect with university students.
“I believe that his story is important for students to hear, as it is an underdog story and proves that you don’t have to fit the mold to be successful in a career,” she said.
Admission is free to Goldman’s lecture.